Luton Morton House to create 200 Jobs
A new skill, innovation, and business hub are expected to create over 200 new jobs for Luton, thanks to Luton Rising, the council’s company that owns the airport.
Luton Rising acquired a four-story, 33,000 sq ft building in Kimpton Road from Vauxhall early last year, and refurbishment works are underway, ready for opening in summer 2022.
The building will feature state-of-the-art wireless IT and communications systems and flexible, open-plan office spaces aimed at attracting businesses in the post-Covid-19 recovery phase.
Sustainability will be at the heart of the design, with the building featuring: solar power; electric vehicle charging points; air sourced heating, cooling, and ventilation with intelligent control systems; an air sourced hot water pump; rainwater harvesting, and a greywater recycling system.
Formerly known as ‘K Block’, the building has been renamed in collaboration with Luton Town Football Club as ‘Morton House’ in memory of club legend Bob Morton who played for the Hatters from 1946 to 1964.
Gary Sweet, Chief Executive Officer of Luton Town FC and 2020 Developments said: “We are absolutely thrilled to be associated with this new development.
“Bob Morton made a record 550 appearances for our club as centre-forward and wing-half, scoring 48 goals. It is fantastic that this investment in skills and business development in Luton will be linked with his memory.”
A training and skills hub led by Luton Council will be based on the lower ground floor, focused on learning practical and social skills through its Passport to Employment programme. The lower ground floor will also feature a café, seating area, and outside courtyard. It is hoped that these facilities will encourage and foster an exchange of skills and knowledge between the building’s business tenants and adult learners alike.
The development of Morton House will see some businesses currently located in Hart House Business Centre take up the first allocation of space on the ground or first floor and become the building’s anchor tenants.
The second-floor accommodation will be targeted at start-up companies particularly within the aviation, automotive, artificial intelligence (AI), and data-driven sectors.
Cllr Javeria Hussain, chair of Luton Rising, said: “This is another exciting example of Luton Rising working hard for the future prosperity of Luton.
“We are very proud of the incredibly strong track record of investment that makes us the UK’s number one community airport owner, and redevelopment of Morton House will enable us to deliver a much-needed business and skills hub for the town and make a significant contribution to increasing the employability of local residents that is such an important part of the town’s 2040 vision.
The £8.6m redevelopment is supported by a £3m grant from the South East Midlands Local Enterprise Partnership (SEMLEP) Local Growth Fund, and is expected to support the creation of a further 80 jobs in the local supply chain.
Cllr Aslam Khan portfolio holder responsible for skills and employability at Luton Council, said: “Helping our residents into sustainable and well-paid roles is fundamental to the Luton 2040 strategy to create a healthy, fair and sustainable town where everyone can thrive and no-one has to live in poverty.
“That makes Morton House one of the most important developments coming on stream in our town. This hub of innovation and collaboration will not only create more jobs and encourage business growth but will provide training for those looking to improve their future prospects and all of these are so critical to Luton’s future.”
Hilary Chipping, Chief Executive of SEMLEP said: “Morton House will provide a home for businesses, offer learning opportunities for students and protect Luton jobs in a sustainable way. We’re delighted to support the refurbishment of the facility, contributing significantly to our economy as we recover from the pandemic and beyond. A great example of supporting the community and environment simultaneously.”