Over 50 local business people were buzzing with excitement at the VIP launch of the new business centre at The Beehive next to Gatwick Airport in Crawley,West Sussex.

The morning champagne reception gave the invited throng a chance to see at first-hand the results of the building’s £1.2m refurbishment and its transformation into a state-of-the-art, fully equipped business centre perfect for the 21st century occupier.

Guests were greeted by James Gaggero, chairman of The Bland Group, which owns the building, and Paul Finch and Zach Douglas, joint MDs of the business centre operator Orega, which opened it in April this year. James Gaggero welcomed the visitors and talked of his pride at being involved in a building with such a long aviation history and its bright future as a business centre 'providing a lively and happy working environment that is a pleasure to engage in'.

Everyone was then offered a slice of The Beehive in the shape of a specially created cake which replicated the circular art deco building.

Among those present were some of The Beehive’s new tenants. Four companies have so far signed for space: IT services company Logica, Norwegian-based virtual training firm It’s Learning, Polarcus, a Dubai-based company specialising in vessels for the oil and gas industry, and structural steelwork company G&H Engineering.

The Beehive’s location, less than a mile from the airport, was a key factor for many of the tenants. Both It’s Learning and Polarcus have established their UK head office in the 22,000 sq ft building, while G&H Engineering has been involved with projects at Gatwick for many years and wanted self-contained, high-quality offices nearby.

Linda Burton, who joined Orega in April as The Beehive’s customer service and sales manager, says: "This building is completely unique. There’s nothing like it in the Gatwick and Crawley area and it has that ‘wow’ factor which visitors find very special. As soon as you walk through the doors into the reception area, you are struck by the way in which the original features of the building blend seamlessly with the new contemporary styling details. It has to be seen to be believed!"

The Beehive, which is Grade II listed, dates from 1936 and was the original airport terminal building for Gatwick Airport. It was vacated in August last year after former occupier GB Airways was sold to easyJet. The Bland Group, which had owned GB Airways, bought The Beehive from BAA in 2001.

Orega has a 10-year joint venture management agreement with the Bland Group to run the business centre, which offers modern flexible serviced offices with leading-edge IT and telecoms technology, contemporary interior styling, fully equipped conference and meeting rooms, and 128 parking spaces.