Willmott Dixon has secured the £34 million contract for the Plymouth History Centre project.
The scheme will involve the restoration of one of the city’s listed buildings to give the city a new heritage attraction.
Willmott Dixon has been given the task of transforming the St Luke’s Church buildings, Central Library and City Museum and Art Gallery into an interactive centre that will attract tourists and visitors who are keen to learn more about the rich naval history of the city, including the first migrant sailings to America.
The expected completion date for the project is spring 2020 which will commemorate the 400th anniversary of the Mayflower ship setting sail from Plymouth to America. The scheme will also provide a new home for Plymouth’s vast historic collections.
The contractor will now work in conjunction with Plymouth City Council through a pre-contract agreement to develop the project and construction elements of it, preparing the site for the second stage contract which will be awarded later in the year.
Although the new development is officially called the Plymouth History Centre, that is only a working title as it will also include gallery and exhibition spaces which will explore subjects including Plymothians who have influenced the world.
It will also pay tribute to the West Country’s artistic legacy, including Sir Joshua Reynolds, the Cottonian Collection and the Newlyn School of Artists, the city’s relationship with the Royal Navy, life in Plymouth below the waterline and Plymouth’s prehistoric landscape.
Ian Bowyer, leader of Plymouth City Council, said: “Willmott Dixon was awarded the contract after a highly competitive tender process and we’re really pleased to have them on board.
“As well as in-depth knowledge of the sector they demonstrated how they would inspire Plymothians to build for Plymouth and invest in the communities that support culture. This makes their appointment a great fit for the History Centre.”