The dream of a multi-million pound business innovation centre in Lynn has moved a step closer after agreement was reached on who will build the new facility.
But the identity of the successful firm will not be announced until a turf-cutting ceremony takes place on the site next Thursday.
Council officials have been working with Norfolk and Waveney Enterprise Services (NWES) to develop the centre, which is expected to open next year.
And they believe the facility will attract additional investment to the town and help to create new jobs in the longer term.
Council leader Nick Daubney said: “KLIC will provide a superb space for businesses to grow and develop which will in turn create jobs, support the local economy and raise aspirations.
“The centre will act as a platform for engagement with the borough’s world-leading manufacturers to facilitate the transfer of knowledge in business innovation to start-ups and create spin-off business opportunities locally.”
NWES chief executive Kevin Horne added: “We first started the discussions to build an innovation centre in King’s Lynn in 2004.
“It has taken 10 years of hard toil to identify a suitable site and specification to bring the very best to West Norfolk.
“This centre will link with our 20 other enterprise centres across the region to form a network which will exploit the undoubted talent available locally.
“For too long, the borough has been without a catalyst for business growth.
“But the KLIC will remedy that and create new employment and wealth creating opportunities locally.
“The council deserve credit for helping to make this happen and for their ongoing commitment to economic development.”
Much of the funding for the centre, around £2.5 million, has come via a loan from the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership’s (LEP) Growing Places fund.
A further £1 million has so far been committed by the borough council and the authority agreed in March to provide an additional £450,000 loan, if required, to cover a financial shortfall.
The council has submitted a bid for support from Norfolk’s business rates pool, an agreement between county and district councils which reduces the levy payable on business rates and aims to invest as much of the money as possible within Norfolk.
But it is still unclear whether that bid has been successful and the council’s cabinet pledged to step in if the proposal was turned down.