THE last phase of a £4 million overhaul of Greenock’s iconic Custom House building is under way.

Regeneration body Riverside Inverclyde (RI) say work has started on the fourth and final phase of the restoration and upgrading of the Grade A listed waterfront property.

Greenock builders WH Kirkwood clinched the £1.2m contract, which will see the Long Room and the Grand Staircase in the upper west wing completely refurbished.

Once completed it will take the total amount spent on the Custom House since RI took over the building five years ago to £4.1m.

RI chairman Gerry McCarthy said: “Riverside Inverclyde’s plans of rescuing this building and bringing into economic use have proven to be visionary.

“Where once the future looked bleak for this grand building as it lay vacant, it is now populated by a combination of renowned global and local ambitious companies, such as Toshiba Global Commerce Solutions, PG Paper, Gryffe Studios and Be Positive.

“This final phase will feature the Long Room and the Grand Staircase being brought into productive use – a wonderful project for local company WH Kirkwood.

“The results of the works of the previous three phases have been stunning, securing the future of this wonderful building and bringing prestigious office accommodation into the heart of Greenock town centre.

“We look forward to its completion this winter.”

The transformation of the upper west wing is being funded by a combination of £650,000 from a Scottish Government and COSLA regeneration fund and £536,000 from RI and Inverclyde Council as part of their single operating plan for economic development.

Councillor Michael McCormick, the council’s environment and regeneration convener, said: “This is yet another step forward in the excellent work of bringing the historic Custom House building back into full working use.

“It has played an important role in the maritime history of Greenock and is now a stunning new home to growing and successful businesses.

“There can be few finer locations for business premises right on the banks of the Clyde than a building like this. It is part of the continuing picture of regeneration across Greenock and Inverclyde to promote our area as a thriving location for business.”

Ian Macnaughton, of W H Kirkwood, said: “We are immensely pleased to have been awarded the above project.

“Not only was this contract won on price but also won on quality,W which reflects the company’s significant successful track record on historic projects.”