Future bright for Focus as new council-funded office block opens in Shoreham
A new £9.5 million office block which has secured hundreds of jobs locally while providing Adur taxpayers with an income has officially opened.
Growing communications company The Focus Group are the proud new tenants of the contemporary-looking four-storey development on the former Civic Centre car park in Ham Road.
Adur District Council - which owns the building - has worked closely with the firm on the scheme, agreeing a long-term lease with the company which has allowed it to relocate from Southwick and have space to expand its workforce from 250 to 450 workers.
After a tour of the newly-christened Focus House site, councillors said they were impressed with the quality of the construction and the six-figure investment from their new tenants in transforming the inside of the building.
Councillor Neil Parkin, Leader of Adur District Council, said: “I’m delighted to see this new building open, which looks great from the outside and even better on the inside.
“In this current climate, it is extremely rare for local authorities to design and build offices to meet the local need for high quality employment space. But this deal shows that we are prepared to think creatively about how we can use our assets to get the best possible return for local residents.
“I want to thank Focus for its great commitment to Adur, investing a substantial sum to relocate within the area which will provide local people with employment. I wish them all the best in their ambitious proposals to grow and look forward to our new tenants going from strength to strength.”
The Focus House development has brought back into use the car park site which was largely vacant since the Civic Centre closed in 2013.
Work started on site a year ago with construction teams from Willmott Dixon creating a striking brick and bronze cladded building on time and on budget.
Inside, the open plan office has a contemporary feel, with top-of-the-range internet connections, games area and roof terrace just some of the perks for workers.
The project, which has been supported by £1.8 million of funding from the Coast to Capital Local Enterprise Partnership, was completed by April.
Focus said the move will ensure the retention of 250 jobs in the area while allowing it to continue to grow - with hopes of a further 150 to 200 posts created in the first 18 months of occupation.
Ralph Gilbert, of Focus Group, said: “I want to thank everyone at Adur District Council for their support with this project.
“It’s a really exciting time for our growing company and, even just a few weeks into our tenancy at our new home, we are already starting to reap the benefits.
“We have said all along that we wanted to make this building one of the best offices in the region so that we can attract the best staff while showcasing some of the groundbreaking technology which we advocate and install for firms across the UK.
“I think after their visit, councillors can see that we were serious about the promise.”
With the office block now open, focus for the Council is now on the main Civic Centre site with councillors agreeing to pursue a proposal from Hyde Homes to create 171 apartments above high-quality office space for local small and medium businesses at a town hall meeting last month.