Landmark Victorian building to be transformed into co-working complex

A landmark Victorian building in Leamington is undergoing a major reinvention as a co-working complex.

The community hall will feature hot desking, dedicated desks and flexible offices, a video and sound studio, a meeting area and events spaces.

The Muse Coffee House, currently in Regent Grove, is expanding into the new centre – on the corner Mill Street and Leam Terrace – and will open in the autumn.

1 Mill Street is being transformed by Kenilworth-based businessman Nigel Shanahan, who developed tech company Rant & Rave from a start-up to its sale to an American software giant, alongside his wife Dessie.

His team has undertaken a 12-month renovation and refurbishment of the 12,000 sq ft building – which has been used as a meeting hall in World War I, was home to the Loft Theatre and a Sikh Community Centre.

The centre is designed to appeal to sole and home workers, start-up entrepreneurs through to small high-growth companies – but will also be open to local charities.

Shanahan explained: “This is a site and a building which has played a significant part in community life in Leamington, and, in a way, what we are doing is a very modern manifestation of that.

“Leamington has a highly creative and entrepreneurial community and we believe there is a real need for a centre which allows flexible, collaborative space to enable people, ideas and business to flourish while helping charities and good causes at the same time.

“People will be able to have access to a desk on a shared basis, a dedicated desk, or a team office which will fit between four and 10 staff for growing companies. It will suit a range of people from those who work for big companies but do not have a base, through to people launching first enterprises.”

Shanahan is also hoping 1 Mill Street will help retain talent in the town and is in discussions with University of Warwick to help attract graduates, while there is potential for it to be a hub for 5G technology.

A new 1 Mill Street app has also been launched as a platform for local entrepreneurs, individuals and businesses to connect, collaborate and be part of a digital community.

Shannahan added: “The aim is very much to open up 1 Mill Street to the community and to maintain its heritage of real involvement in the town.

“The café will include a meeting space to attract group activities while charities will be able to use the building for gathering and events. We want it very much to be co-working with a heart and to have a real buzz.

“We have had some great feedback and high levels of interest from people involved in different industries who not only want a space which is much more than a serviced office with cutting-edge technology, but who also very much buy in to the community aspect of what we are doing.”