A HISTORIC building with a colourful past is being given an £80,000 shot in the arm by a Dearne Valley businessman.
Jason Mace, founder of Manvers-based Gala Tent, is digging deep to restore the 1920s Empress Building in Mexborough to its former glory.
Almost 100 years old, the three-storey Empress Ballroom was a cornerstone of the Mexborough social scene for many years, attracting bands and dancers from all walks of life to its grand halls, and attracted huge names from boxing and wrestling, in its heyday.
More recently it has been used as a boxing venue and gym.
Mr Mace said: “The Empress Building is an amazing structure, I love it.
“There is some incredible business potential with it, and I plan on fully helping to realise that potential, not just for me, but for the businesses that are putting Mexborough on the map.”
Andrew Meanley, of tenants Grafters Powerhouse Gym, said: “I really hope it can be restored to its former glory, with it being maintained both inside and out.”
Mr Mace said he planned to put around £80,000 of his own money in to regenerating the Empress, installing new windows and extensions and dealing with concerns over safety and water leaks.
Sue Tudor, of top floor-based The Personal Training Room, said: “This is an iconic building.
“If you ask anybody from Mexborough they know all about The Empress Building.
“This investment in the property is going to change our business.
“We’re only able to open one of the windows at the minute, so it's going to get a lot more airy in the summer and warmer in the winter.
“It’s just going to be a much more comfortable place to train.”