Work to begin on new enterprise hub at east end of Kirkcaldy High Street

Marilyn Livingstone and members of the Adam Smith Global Foundation, Michael Levack, Vicki Hutchison and Heather Brown putside the new unit in Merchants' Quarter. Pic: FPA.
Marilyn Livingstone and members of the Adam Smith Global Foundation, Michael Levack, Vicki Hutchison and Heather Brown putside the new unit in Merchants' Quarter. Pic: FPA.

Work on the first phase of a long-term project to continue the ongoing regeneration at the east end of Kirkcaldy’s High Street and transform it into a world heritage site that can support the local economy is to start next week.

Contractors will begin refitting the Enterprise Hub unit – formerly occupied by Italian restaurant Made in Naples – on Monday after work was delayed earlier this year.

Inside the unit in Merchants' Quarter before the refurbishment began.

Inside the unit in Merchants' Quarter before the refurbishment began.

It is hoped the hub, which will be known as Enlightenments, House of Adam Smith, will be up and running in October.

It is now a case of putting in the cosmetics – fitting out the interior, getting the plaster on the walls, plumbing and electrics, which will be carried out over the next two or three weeks.

Members of the Adam Smith Global Foundation are looking to develop the Merchants’ Quarter by creating an iconic shopping and tourism destination for townsfolk and visitors.

The 2600 sq ft building in Merchants’ Quarter is to be transformed into a skills development and enterprise space.

The aim is to provide a range of support and practical space for new and young local business start- ups, all under one roof, offering local food and drink products and artisan crafts.

Flexible trading space for up to 30 small independent businesses will be provided giving them a chance to showcase their products and help make the leap from ‘home to high street’ should they want to.

The hub will also aid the development of 100 trainees each year into Fife’s hospitality, leisure and retail sectors.

Fife Council’s employability team, Fife College and Business Gateway will be on hand to provide on-site support to help the start-ups grow and thrive, through training and mentoring programmes, with a view to taking on other vacant units, not only within the Merchants’ Quarter but in other parts of the town.

Marilyn Livingstone, chief executive of the Adam Smith Global Foundation, said they are glad work on the refit is now due to start: “There was an issue with one of the contractors which delayed the work starting and we were all really gutted when this happened.

“But we now have another contractor on board and work on the unit refit will start on Monday. We expect this to take around two or three weeks and then we can look at getting the furniture in and the food in along with the start-ups and the makers. We are aiming to be open in ten weeks in October.”

Enlightenments will have two anchor tenants to support it – a vibrant cafe bistro offering a selection of locally sourced food and drink and a deli bar.

Marilyn said they have been speaking to people interested in running the cafe and deli bar and there are plans to offer workshops and pop-up restaurants.

She added: “We want to promote local crafts and food and support local crafters through employability and training. While we are aiming to be open officially in ten weeks time, we are hoping to have events happening before then.”