"The Shell Store is Herefordshires first dedicated business incubation centre and will also be home to business support services to aid recovery post-pandemic."
Andrew Manning Cox
The transformation of the former munitions site in Hereford into a dedicated business incubation centre has triumphed at the top Midlands property awards.
The Shell Store, located on Skylon Park, Hereford, won the Commercial Development of the Year category at the Insider West Midlands Property Awards, which took place in Birmingham on November 4.
The awards attracted a record number of entries from across the region, but the £7.3m Shell Store project beat tough competition to win the accolade in the 21st edition of the awards.
Barnwood Construction, the principal contractor of the project, transformed the First World War site into 2,500 sq. meters of business space while maintaining much of the iconic building’s original features.
The judges commented on the project saying: “This unique scheme stood out not only because the redevelopment was handled sensitivity, but the character, as well as parts of the framework of the original building were both retained and celebrated. A restoration project to be proud of.”
Chairman of Hereford Enterprise Zone, Andrew Manning Cox, said: “The building had lain empty and derelict for more than 50 years, meaning the contractors faced some tough challenges to bring the structure back to life.
“The Shell Store is Herefordshire’s first dedicated business incubation centre and will also be home to business support services to aid recovery post-pandemic.”
Ben Ramsay, Managing Director at Barnwood Construction added: “The project essentially required a building to be created within a building — a lot of the construction taking place during lockdowns.
“This posed a number of the normal construction challenges when remodelling existing spaces into state-of-the-art working environments. But by working collaboratively with our customer, suppliers and contractors we were able to complete the works safely while maintaining all of the Covid-19 protocols.”
Councillor David Hitchiner, Leader of Herefordshire Council, said: “I am delighted that this outstanding Herefordshire Project has won this prize against competition from across the Midlands area.
“The Shell Store is now a rejuvenated feature of the Herefordshire business landscape and will provide unique space for up to 40 businesses across a range of sectors.
“Receiving the top honour in the Midlands awards demonstrates just what a transformation this project has been — both in the physical structure but also in the commercial opportunities for businesses across the region.”
The Shell Store was funded by Herefordshire Council, the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and a loan from the Marches LEP’s Marches Investment Fund.
It was officially opened by Robert Jenrick MP, then Secretary of State Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG), in July 2021.