The building, previously occupied by Tui, is in the Crawley Business Quarter on Fleming Way.
The 24,594 sq ft office building has now been purchased by Crawley Borough Council for £4.55m via Coast to Capital Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) £8.65m Getting Building Fund grants secured by the council.
The building will be converted into the Crawley Innovation Centre to bring a much-needed economic, innovation and technological boost to the town.
The centre will help create more than 200 new jobs and benefit directly up to 40 businesses. In the longer term, the aim is to help attract significant new manufacturing business investment into Crawley, including at new industrial space in Manor Royal.
The Crawley Innovation Centre will also:
- Be a major technological innovation asset to support existing advanced engineering businesses in Manor Royal
- Enable growth in new and emerging business sectors such as clean energy and quantum technologies
- Provide vital “grow-on” space which will enable hi-tech small businesses to “scale up”, prototype and demonstrate new technologies
- Boost innovation and research and development output in Crawley and the Gatwick Diamond as well as unlock manufacturing jobs and attract business investment
- Expand the capacity of the green energy business cluster, which is vital as Crawley looks to meet its carbon reduction targets
- Attract new high value jobs and business investment to boost Crawley’s economic recovery
- Actively engage with Crawley College and the Universities of Brighton, Chichester and Sussex on opportunities for local workforce tech apprenticeships and skills.
The project is a major priority in Crawley’s Economic Recovery Plan 2022-2037 and it is also closely aligned to the Coast to Capital plan to Build Back Smarter, Stronger and Greener.
The Coast to Capital Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) Board has approved a total of £8.65 million funding from the government’s Getting Building Fund to enable the centre’s conversion and launch by the end of 2023.
The project has also secured £2.5 million from the Crawley Towns Fund programme to invest in the operational establishment of the centre.
Councillor Peter Smith, Cabinet member for Planning and Economic Development at Crawley Borough Council said: “This is a huge milestone in this major project and fantastic news for Crawley.
“The Crawley Innovation Centre is central to several key themes of our economic recovery, including skills, new jobs, new businesses, diversification and our move to a greener future.
“The council is very grateful to the LEP for approving this funding; without it the project would not have come to fruition.”
Julie Kapsalis, Chair at Coast to Capital, said: “I’m delighted to see the Innovation Centre project progressing.
“Once complete, the centre will bring together major innovation-led businesses, building on the existing strengths of Crawley-based technology industries, providing a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to attract more high value businesses into the area and cement our status as a leading part of the country driving innovation and trade.”
Chris Maidment, Chair of the Crawley Town Deal Board, said: “We are grateful to the support from Coast to Capital that has enabled us to proceed with this very exciting project. I also thank a number of organisations which have cooperated in helping bring this to fruition.
“The project will be central to addressing a number of our key themes around economic recovery, especially skills and green technologies. This should create opportunities for new businesses and new jobs for Crawley residents.”
For more details about the Towns Fund visit investcrawley.co.uk/partners/towns-fund