The former Burton building on Paisley High Street has been snapped up by new owners.
And over the course of the next few months it will be transformed into a community hub.
The three-storey property – which most recently housed lighting and interiors store Lighthouse – has been acquired by Life Church Paisley, who plan to turn it into a multi-use space with activity halls, cafe and places of worship.
The church group submitted plans to Renfrewshire Council in September to change the use of 6-8 High Street from retail to a place of worship and cafe. These were later approved by planning officials.
The interior of the building is currently completely empty and will require a lot of work to get it presentable, said Life Church minister Chris Greenhalgh.
He hopes the new project will be ready to welcome people this autumn when the lease on their current Moss Street base ends.
Set over three floors, the first phase of the redevelopment will see the ground floor contain a seating area catering for 38 people as well as a cafe. There will also be a ‘flexible space’ which could be used for sermonising and presenting, which can hold 88 people seating.
Members of the public will be able to book the space to use for community events. Phase two of the project will see further community spaces opened up on the upper levels.
Chris explained: “In time, we’ll probably move the worship/multi-use space up to the second floor and then the rear section downstairs will become more community use space.
“For example, we work with Street Connect – they work with people in recovery. So, that’s a major part of what we do midweek and just helping people get pathways back into the community.
“We also host a whole bundle of different community level projects. So, that’s really our vision for the Lighthouse.
“And it might be called Lighthouse in the end because hopefully it’ll be a place of light.”
It could be some time before the upper levels are open with Chris admitting that the work required there is extensive.
“In terms of finances,” he added, “it’s a big ticket item just getting all the windows replaced on both of the upper floors. We’ll be developing a crowdfunder so the community can maybe help us with that. going forward.”
Chris is hopeful of receiving support from the community and the council in restoring the notable town centre building.
He continued: “We will be reaching out to businesses and the provost is visiting us soon to see what pathways we can make with the council’s help as well because it’s not just our project that matters – but the building itself being quite prominent in the High Street and town centre.
“It’s a great looking building and if it’s restored the way it should be, it will be great for the town because it’s a bit of an eyesore right now.”
He added: “Lots of people in Paisley are lamenting the death of the High Street. Our church was birthed in the High Street in 1906 and so we want to return to the High Street and do our best to make it glorious again.
“Hopefully with the plans that the council have to upgrade the High Street in future years, we can do our bit to help that.
“And we hope that the community will welcome our church being right in the heart of Paisley, and that we get the favour and blessing of everyone to do the projects that we’re doing.”
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