Architect honoured with renaming of his building

Polygonal cupolaIn 1895, when Robert Ingram designed the magnificent Mauchline sandstone building at 30 -38 John Finnie Street he couldn’t have known that over a hundred years later it would be renamed in his honour.

Work has just started on the new Ingram Enterprise Centre, the latest in a series of 22 buildings in Kilmarnock’s historic quarter to undergo a comprehensive programme of restoration and refurbishment funded jointly by the Council’s £5m Kilmarnock Town Centre Fund, the Scottish Government’s Regeneration Capital Grant Fund (RCGF), the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) through the Kilmarnock Townscape Heritage Initiative (KTHI). The project is one of many carried out in recent years to allow owners of older buildings  to help them pay for sympathetic repairs, using traditional methods and materials to make them  wind and watertight and fit for use in the 21st Century.

Businesses throughout Kilmarnock have benefited from the opportunity to win grant funding to upgrade and redevelop their premises. Jobs have been created and derelict buildings brought back into use along the way. But this project, costing £4.8 million, will go one step further to help the local economy by creating a flexible suite of high quality, serviced accommodation with a variety of office spaces and conference suites available with flexible letting arrangements for fledgling and growing businesses.

Council Leader, Douglas Reid and Cabinet Member for Economy Jim Buchanan visited the site to see the work starting. Councillor Reid said:” We’re delighted to get this massive project underway. The work we’ve already done in John Finnie Street, rebuilding the Opera House, Johnnie Walker Bond, refurbishing the council offices on John Dickie Street and the works carried out at the Railway Station, Fanny by Gaslight and WG13 have all enhanced this end of the town. This building stood out like a sore thumb due to the level of dilapidation. We’re really looking forward to seeing it finished this time next year.

“John Finnie Street is much the better for the number of building owners who’ve participated in our Conservation Area Regeneration Scheme (CARS) and this step helps further restore our pride in the magnificent architectural heritage of the town.”

Councillor Buchanan added: “This is another example of how regeneration does more than just restore old buildings. We’re not just going to bring a little used, semi derelict building back into use, it will be an integral part of the economic life of the town. By giving young and growing companies a chance to benefit from competitive rents, business services and a low maintenance building, we’re helping keep their costs down, providing town centre premises where they can benefit from the synergy to be gained from working alongside other businesses, close to the huge range of services companies, such as banks, lawyers, accountants, insurance agents and IT consultants  which are based around John Finnie Street.

“We’re passionate about encouraging entrepreneurship, and we’ve got a strong business support team on hand just round the corner in the Johnnie Walker Building who will be on hand to help the new tenants. Roll on next Spring!”

East Ayrshire regeneration facts:

Over the past 10 years we’ve won funding bids totalling £8,297,200 from sources including Historic Environment Scotland’s CARS scheme, Townscape Heritage Initiative, Town Centre Regeneration Fund, Railway Heritage Trust and the Regeneration Capital Grants Fund

Our CARS and THI schemes in Kilmarnock, Cumnock and Galston have enabled the restoration of 58 historic town centre buildings

We’ve brought:

  • 7 vacant buildings totalling over 8000m2  back into use

We’ve developed:

  • 8 new residential units and 15 new commercial units including the Dumfries Arms Hotel in Cumnock

We’ve created:

  • 5 full time, temporary jobs directly through the CARS/THI Schemes
  • 15 -20 jobs indirectly through the provision of fit for purpose premises

We’ve trained:

  • 60 local contractors in conservation skills
  • 40 local building professionals trained in conservation skills

We’ve implemented:

  • 6,320sq m High quality streetscape improvements in Kilmarnock
  • Creation of innovative illuminated station clock at the top of John Finnie Street
  • 5883sq m streetscape improvements in Cumnock
  • 900+sq m streetscape improvements in Galston.

We’ve brought

  • footfall, trade and vitality to our town centres:
  • 500 Council staff to work in the refurbished Johnnie Walker  Bond and Opera House