Baltic Creative to transform 19th century Liverpool docklands warehouse into digital hub

Baltic Creative Community Interest Company has secured £2.6m to create 17,000 sq ft of flexible workspace in the four-storey red brick warehouse at 61-65 Norfolk Street. Tony McDonough reports

From left, Erika Rushton (chair of the Board, Baltic Creative CIC), Cllr Ann O’Byrne (Deputy Mayor of Liverpool), Mark Lawler (managing director, Baltic Creative CIC). Picture by Pete Carr

 

Liverpool’s Baltic Triangle creative and digital hub is to embark on the next phase of expansion with the purchase of a 19th century docklands storehouse.

Baltic Creative Community Interest Company, which is behind the hugely successful Baltic Creative complex, will create 17,000 sq ft of flexible workspace in the four-storey red brick warehouse at 61-65 Norfolk Street.

The organisation secured £2.6m investment from The Charity Bank and European Regional Development Fund to purchase a 125-year lease from the city council and embark on the transformation.

Earlier this year Baltic Creative CIC managing director, Mark Lawler, told YBNews the Baltic Triangle district would increase its commercial footprint over the next five to 10 years, providing 500,000 sq ft of additional commercial space.

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Baltic Creative was launched in 2009 and houses around 130 businesses. The wider Baltic Triangle area is home more than 400 businesses, as well as bars, restaurants and apartments.

The Norfolk Street site is currently in a poor state of repair and Baltic Creative will undertake a 10-month restoration programme to sensitively refurbish the buildings, with architecture firm K2 behind the design.

Its 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 is expected to house around 30 companies and 150 full-time jobs.

Mr Lawler said: “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.”

Baltic Creative CIC has worked closely with Liverpool City Council, DCLG (ERDF), HCA, The Charity Bank, Safestore and Excello Law over an 18-month period in order to complete the complex acquisition of the property.

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