A FORMER bank building in St Helens town centre is being transformed into three shop units, along with apartments.

Work on the former Co-operative branch, which closed its doors on Hardshaw Street back in June 2017, is set to get underway.

The Star previously reported after planning permission had been granted for the project at the unit.

Estate agent Ryan Little, director at St Helens-based Little Estate Agents, has been working on the project at 5-7 Hardshaw Street, with business partner, Semco Jahanbin who is  director of Sayone Commercial LTD, which owns the building.

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Ryan said: “Semco is based in London and I introduced him to St Helens and the investment opportunities the town has.

“We have been working together for the last two years on other properties in St Helens and the surrounding areas.”

With Semco is based in London, Ryan says he has project managed the refurbishments using local tradesmen.

The plans are to convert the upper floors into six one-bedroom apartments and the ground floor of the building is to be converted into three retail shops, with a self-contained ground floor apartment to the rear.

Ryan, who also runs Pimmies Pies, added: “The high street isn’t dead, it’s just changing. “People constantly criticise the conversions of old town centre buildings saying the town will be flooded with flats but what people don’t realise is that these people who are living in town centres need places to shop and eat which in the long run will grow the town centre economy and bring other empty retail units back into use.”

St Helens Star: The unit has been empty for the past five and a half yearsThe unit has been empty for the past five and a half years (Image: Submitted)

He added that one of the three shops on the ground floor has been tenanted by Vina Nails and Beauty, while the other two units will be advertised to let.

Ryan said official works will be starting on January 16 and the project will take six months to complete.

Anyone interested in the units can contact Little Estate Agents on 01744 739965