Baltic Creative CIC is set to embark on its next phase of development after completing the purchase of a historic 19th century docklands storehouse in the heart of the Baltic Triangle.
The four-storey red brick warehouse is located at 61-65 Norfolk Street and has been acquired from Liverpool City Council on a 125 year-long leasehold – an indication of the long-term hopes for this rapidly growing area.
According to historical records, Norfolk Street was built by the merchant, William Smith during the latter part of the 19th century and was originally used to store seeds. The building has fallen into a state of disrepair since those days but that will all change in the coming months.
Baltic Creative have planned a 10-month restoration programme to refurbish the building and create a further 17,000 sq. ft of flexible workspace. K2 Architects have been appointed to design the scheme and are keen to blend the historical aesthetics of the building with a modern structure that caters for the creative industries.
Kevin Horton, a Director at K2 Architects said: “It’s important to note that, whilst part of the building is structurally unsound, it does have notable architectural and aesthetic merit.
“Therefore we, along with Baltic Creative, are passionate about maintaining the historic fabric of the building and intend to preserve as much of the original construction as is structurally possible. The Norfolk Street development will be entirely original and will become nothing less than a world leading space for Creative & Digital businesses.”
The new development will feature a variety of different sized studios alongside collaborative breakout areas, meeting rooms and co-working spaces. The ground floor will also include a public café with events space and an outdoor green area.
A focus on tech space in Liverpool
The ambition is to develop the Baltic Triangle’s first digital technology hub, which is expected to attract companies working in growing markets such as VR, AR, IoT, eHealth, FinTech, MADTech and Big Data. Once established the scheme will support approximately 30 companies and 150 full time jobs.
The continued growth in the digital tech sector is a driving force in Liverpool’s renaissance – particularly those companies that are clustered in the Baltic Triangle. There are now over 23,000 jobs in this sector throughout the city and they are bringing in hundreds of millions of pounds into the city’s economy.
Councillor Ann O’Byrne, Deputy Mayor of Liverpool said: “Liverpool City Council are really pleased to see this beautiful old building brought back into use by Baltic Creative who continue to encourage the regeneration and transformation of the Baltic Triangle area.
The creative and digital sector is having a significant impact on the Liverpool City Region economy and this development will help create the space required to attract and support more high growth businesses and high value jobs.”
The ambitious Norfolk Street development programme was made possible after Baltic Creative CIC secured £2.6m of investment from The Charity Bank and European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).
Subsequently and over an 18-month period, Baltic Creative CIC worked closely with Liverpool City Council, DCLG (ERDF), HCA, The Charity Bank, Safestore and Excello Law in order to complete the complex acquisition of the property and plan the delivery of an iconic development.
The Baltic is ready for dedicated Tech Space.
Mark Lawler, Managing Director of Baltic Creative CIC said: “We are absolutely delighted to announce the purchase of 61 – 65 Norfolk Street. This process has been a long time in the making and it has been the most challenging acquisition that I have worked on in my career to date.
“Liverpool’s tech sector is booming, with figures showing that Digital jobs in the north are growing 10x the rate of non-digital jobs. Here at Baltic Creative we are witnessing a huge demand for dedicated tech space and we’re committed to transforming 61-65 Norfolk Street into a scheme which will support the growth of digital businesses.”
Building contractors are currently being sourced and the plan is to start work in November 2017. The expectation is that Norfolk Street will be open for business at the end of 2018 – allowing plenty of time to lodge your interest and imagine your new working space.
Watch this space for further developments.