High Demand For Digital Tech Hub From Baltic Creative’s Community
An exclusive drop-in event hosted by Baltic Creative CIC to showcase plans for a new scheme at 61–65 Norfolk Street has been warmly received by the existing Baltic Creative community.
The much-loved warehouse in the Baltic Triangle was acquired in November 2017 and is now 7 months into a 12-month transformative programme. While the wider digital and creative business community will be invited to take on spaces later in the year, available suites will be open to Baltic Creative tenants from the summer.
The event allowed interested innovators to whet their appetites, experiencing the vision for the building first-hand by using a virtual reality experience created by K2 Architects (Watch event film footage here: https://youtu.be/-_WYn51j5rw and VR footage here: https://youtu.be/inlF9gn-6KQ). Attendees were able to move around the building and explore its studios, collaborative breakout areas, meeting rooms and different sized co-working spaces.
The ground floor of the newly refurbished space will include a public café with events space, and an outdoor green area. An atrium will be positioned at the centre of the scheme, allowing natural light to flood throughout the interior of the building, accompanied by balconies on each floor. At the very top of the building a new rooftop terrace event space will provide impressive views across the Mersey and towards the Anglican Cathedral. After immersing themselves in the new vision, demand for workspaces from existing community members is set to be high.
K2 Architects are the lead architectural consultant for the scheme, and bring experience from projects such as Trinity Kitchen Food Court in Leeds and Capital and Centric’s Bunker Building on Edge Lane, Liverpool. Under their close supervision, work is currently underway to refurbish the existing brick façade at 61-65 Norfolk Street, as well as a partial new build at its core.
Jonathan Tinsley, Assistant Architect at K2 Architects said: “Our design intentions for the Digital Technology Hub at 61-65 Norfolk Street ensures that the existing building’s innate charm and antiquity is retained, enhanced and ultimately celebrated wherever possible. The original aged brick façade and ironwork features are to remain intact with our design interventions quite literally ‘plugging in’ to the voids left behind by the passing of time; creating a stark contrast between the old and the new.
“The overall ethos and ambition is reflective of the already vibrant historical and contemporary fusion in the area – rather than disregarding or destroying the physical legacy left behind from Liverpool’s industrial revolution, it will be sensitively and honestly re-purposed for the modern, digital age.”
John Turner Construction Group was appointed as the building contractor for the scheme in November 2017.
Nigel Sharp, Operations Director at John Turner Group said: “We’re delighted to be involved with a scheme that will encourage new growth, providing quality space for both start-ups and more established SME’s working in the Creative / Digital Sector.
“We’re also pleased to have the opportunity to save two obsolete Victorian warehouses in the Baltic Triangle. These two buildings had been previously categorised as dangerous structures and we have now structurally stabilised and retained the façades of these buildings by installing a bespoke designed façade retention system using a structural scaffold, bracings and whalings.
“The intricate brickwork and highly engineered front of these maritime buildings will never be constructed again and some of our heritage would have been lost had they been demolished. We’re delighted that a sense of history will now be retained in these repurposed buildings.”
Baltic Creative received £2.6m investment from Charity Bank (loan) and European Regional Development Fund in order to deliver the scheme.
Mark Lawler, Managing Director at Baltic Creative CIC commented: “We’ve had our challenges with this project, perhaps the most challenging yet, but I’m extremely happy we have been able to retain the façade and not lose the character of what will be an incredible addition to the space we have at Baltic Creative CIC. It’s only right that we offer these spaces to our existing community who need grow on space and it was rewarding to see first-hand the feedback from tenants who were able to put a headset on and explore the spaces we will be letting later this year.”
About European Regional Development Fund (ERDF)
This project has received £768,512 of funding from the England European Regional Development Fund as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020.
The Department for Communities and Local Government (and in London the intermediate body Greater London Authority) is the Managing Authority for European Regional Development Fund.
Established by the European Union, the European Regional Development Fund helps local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support innovation, businesses, create jobs and local community regenerations. www.gov.uk/guidance/england-2014-to-2020-european-structural-and-investment-funds
- 61-65 Norfolk Street is not a listed building and is not situated in a Conservation Area.
- 61-65 Norfolk Street was originally built in two phases; the first phase in 1881 was a four-storey storage warehouse (adjacent to Norfolk St). The second phase was built a year later and is two storeys (adjacent to Simpson St).
- According to historical records the buildings were built by William Smith, a paper stock, metal and general merchant and insurance records suggest that the warehouses were used to store seeds.
- Funding has been secured from ERDF (30%) and The Charity Bank (70%) for £2.6m to deliver the scheme.
- Baltic Creative CIC is now home to 153 Creative and Digital businesses across 118,000 sq.ft. of workspace and communal areas specifically designed for these sectors.
- Just over 57% of the Creative and Digital businesses based at Baltic Creative CIC trade internationally.
- To date Baltic Creative have received around 60 enquiries from Creative and Digital businesses who have expressed interest in studio space at the Digital Technology hub at 61-65 Norfolk Street.
About Baltic Creative CIC
Established in 2009, Baltic Creative Community Interest Company is a commercial landlord providing space to Creative and Digital Industries. www.baltic-creative.com
About K2 Architects
North-west based K2 Architects are an award-winning team of creatives that specialise in creating great buildings, spaces and destinations that elegantly fit their clients’ aims and values. www.k2architects.co.uk
About John Turner Construction Group
Working closely with their clients and consultants, the John Turner Construction Group utilise the highest standard of workmanship and integrity to find solutions that meet and exceed their requirements. www.johnturner.co.uk
About the Baltic Triangle
Creative / Industrious / Pioneering >> Liverpool’s Baltic Triangle … once the city’s well-worn workshop, now a cutting-edge destination where pioneering creatives work and play. www.baltictriangle.co.uk