THE covers are off Blackpool’s latest town centre development – a new creative industries centre adjacent to the Winter Gardens.
A £700,000 investment has transformed the external canopy of the former Ponden Mill retail space, and created 12 high quality offices with meeting space in the upper two floors.
The new business centre – to be called Eighty-One Central – is the latest investment by the Council in the Winter Gardens, and forms part of the original acquisition and development package.
The investment has been funded by a combination of external funding including the North West Development Agency, European Regional Development Fund, the Homes and Communities Agency and the Local Enterprise Growth Initiative.
The centre is already attracting attention from a number of potential business occupants including design and web based businesses who are outgrowing the space available at FYCreatives, the Council’s creative industries centre on Church Street.
Set up three years ago to help support the growth of fledgling creative businesses in a range of sectors including design, marketing and advertising, web development, photography, digital services and the arts – a number of businesses are now ready to take the next step.
Coun Gary Coleman, cabinet member for regeneration and urban development, said: “This is a truly stunning transformation of what was a sad, empty and outmoded building which detracted from the fabulous facade of the Winter Gardens and the regeneration of St John’s Square.
“More importantly the Council has been able to develop new business space at the very time when growing businesses really need it, plugging a real gap in the town centre offer.
“It remains vitally important that we continue to do all that we can to help nurture and support home grown businesses with the potential to create wealth and jobs for our local community.”
Eighty-One Central will also be the home of the new Winter Gardens Trust, established to raise funds for the restoration of the grade II* listed entertainment complex.