Lottery investment to unlock commercial potential of five unused historic buildings

Lottery investment to unlock commercial potential of five unused historic buildings

Today, the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) is announcing more than £12million of UK-wide funding that will transform five important but neglected historic buildings back to commercial use, creating economic growth in five local areas and an estimated 230 FTE jobs by attracting private investment. This is part of a wider investment of at least £125million over the next five years.

The Prime Minister David Cameron welcomed the news during his speech to a major investment conference at the Titanic Quarter in Belfast, just yards from the Harland and Wolff Drawing Offices.

The vacant buildings receiving this investment, the first to be awarded funding through HLF’s new Heritage Enterprise scheme, are:

  • The Harland and Wolff Drawing Offices, Titanic Quarter, Belfast
    This iconic building will become a boutique hotel, offering 50,000 people per year the chance to experience first-hand the Drawing Offices’ unique Titanic heritage
  • The Globe Theatre, Stockton
    This once stunning Art Deco theatre will be transformed into a much-needed live music and comedy venue
  • St Peter and the Old Black Lion Pub, Northampton
    This project is the cornerstone of Northampton’s new Heritage Gateway and will feature a visitor centre, conference facilities and a pub-restaurant
  • The Northern Counties Club, Londonderry / Derry
    In the heart of Londonderry / Derry, this building will provide a new luxury hotel to boost tourism, attracting visitors to the centre of this City of Culture 2013
  • Merkinch Welfare Hall, Inverness
    This funding will return this vacant building to its original use as a community space, housing an amateur boxing club alongside much-needed offices

Heritage Enterprise addresses ‘market failure’ – where buildings have previously failed to attract investment or realise their commercial potential because the cost of repair has meant that – until now – they were not commercially viable. The Lottery investment announced today bridges that financial gap. It will specifically help fund vital repairs and conservation works to these historic buildings, converting them into safe, usable and inspirational spaces for new businesses. By doing so, these Lottery grants will help remove one of the key obstacles currently standing in the way of regeneration by transforming these neglected buildings into productive enterprises that will create local jobs and generate wealth.

Dame Jenny Abramsky, Chair of HLF, said: "In almost every town and city there is at least one historic building standing empty that at one time was at the heart of the local community. Whilst much-loved, these buildings present huge financial challenges. This new scheme works to unlock the potential of these precious old buildings, encouraging private investors and encouraging regeneration. The result is good for us all – substantial economic growth, much-needed new jobs and a wonderful part of our heritage saved from further neglect."

Heritage Enterprise launched with the publication of the first ever comprehensive analysis of how businesses across the UK use historic buildings. New ideas need old buildings revealed the positive impact historic buildings have on the UK’s economy and their proven ability to contribute to growth. The key findings of the analysis demonstrated a commercial business based in a historic building generates more wealth than is the average for the UK economy as a whole.

"Our research was incredibly revealing. The important role heritage plays in creating a strong sense of identity and place is well known. However, these new findings demonstrated for the first time the role heritage buildings play in economic development."

The projects to receive this earmarked funding are:

Harland and Wolff Drawing Offices, Titanic Quarter, Belfast
Titanic Foundation Limited (£5,000,000)
Vacant since 1989 and on the Buildings at Risk register for almost a decade, HLF funding will transform the Category B+ listed Harland and Wolff Drawing Offices into an 87-bedroom boutique hotel with the potential to create 109 FTE jobs. Built between 1885 and 1917, the building is situated in the Titanic Quarter, once the largest shipyard in the world which built over 1,000 ships including the Titanic and HMS Belfast. The Drawing Offices were where the designs for these ships were drafted. The Foundation is delivering this project in partnership with Titanic Quarter Ltd. which has experience in delivering heritage-led redevelopments.

The Globe Theatre, Stockton
The Globe Stockton Foundation (£3,992,000)
The Grade II listed Globe is an Art Deco 'super theatre' situated on a main high street in the centre of Stockton. It originally opened its doors in 1935, and between the 1950s and 1970s The Globe was a premier venue hosting famous acts that include Buddy Holly, Lonnie Donegan, the Rolling Stones, Chuck Berry, Cliff Richard and the Shadows, the Bay City Rollers and Mud. The Beatles played the Globe twice, the first time on 22 November 1963, the day that US President John F. Kennedy was assassinated. The building closed its doors for the last time in 1997 and has since suffered from significant deterioration. This new funding will now see it re-opened as a live music and comedy venue with capacity for audiences of around 2,000 people and the potential to create 64 FTE jobs. The Foundation will deliver this project in partnership with Stockton-On-Tees Borough Council and leading local developer, Jomast Leisure and Property Ltd along with a leading entertainments event organiser.

St Peter and the Old Black Lion Pub
Churches Conservation Trust (£1,666,300)
Grade I listed, St Peter’s Church dates from the 12th century. The Old Black Lion pub is a 17th Century inn that claims to be the oldest pub in Northampton. Led by the Churches Conservation Trust, this project seeks to link the two buildings to a new ‘Heritage Gateway’, breathing new life into both buildings. This project will enhance the area’s tourism offer and create new conference and meeting facilities, whilst the redeveloped pub building will become a pub-restaurant. As a result of this investment, this project will potentially generate 26 new jobs. This project is a partnership between the Churches Conservation Trust, Northamptonshire County Council, Northampton Borough Council, the Friends of Northampton Castle and the Friends of St Peter’s and All Saints Church. The project will also seek a commercial partner to run the pub-restaurant operation.

Northern Counties Club, Londonderry/Derry
Inner City Building Preservation Trust (£784,000)
24 Bishop Street is a three-storey listed building within the historic walled city of Derry-Londonderry, and the site of the former Northern Counties Club which acted as an iconic base for the business and civic leaders of the city for many years. Having lain vacant for 15 years, the building has suffered badly from neglect. In the heart of the city’s growing tourism offering, it will now be transformed into a luxury hotel and potentially create 18 jobs. The Inner City Building Preservation Trust, with support from the Inner City Trust is in negotiations with a potential hotel operator.

Merkinch Welfare Hall, Inverness
Merkinch Enterprise (£706,400)
One of only three listed welfare halls in Scotland, Merkinch Welfare Hall in Inverness was built in 1914 to house a temperance group who sought to attract young men away from the ‘dangers’ of alcohol. Category C-Listed, it currently stands vacant and on the Buildings at Risk register due to serious water ingress and resultant damp. The hall played a large role in the local community over the past 100 years and now it will return to that tradition when it becomes an amateur boxing club, alongside office space. This redevelopment is a partnership between the Merkinch Enterprise – a charitable company set-up to alleviate poverty in Merkinch – City Amateur Boxing club and the Merkinch partnership which is funded by the Highland Council Deprived Area Fund and the Scottish Government.

For more information about Heritage Enterprise visit Heritage Enterprise programme page. Twitter: #heritageenterprise.

Notes to editors

New ideas need old buildings
This research was commissioned by the Heritage Lottery Fund and English Heritage. The analysis of business use within listed buildings was undertaken by Colliers International, using data supplied by ProMap, with further work on economic impacts undertaken by Oxford Economics. The market research survey of businesses occupying listed buildings was carried out by Spirul Research. HLF is also grateful to Historic Scotland, Cadw and Dept Environment Northern Ireland for supplying data on listed buildings.

The research was carried out in five steps:

  • Establishing the types of businesses that occupy a large sample of listed buildings in 62 towns and cities across the UK.
  • Comparing these uses with the pattern of use within non-listed buildings– both across the UK and within each of the sample places. This gave us our key measure used in the analysis – the ‘propensity to occupy’ indicator. This compares the frequency that listed buildings are occupied by different types of business, with the frequency in non-listed buildings.
  • Using reasonable assumptions to aggregate up from this sample to give estimates of the total number of different types of business occupying all listed buildings.
  • Using economic data on business classification to generate estimates of the total output and employment that is generated by businesses occupying listed building.
  • Undertaking a telephone survey of over 200 businesses in listed buildings in 15 different locations showed why the patterns of use described above materialise.

Heritage Enterprise applications are assessed in two rounds. A first-round pass is given when HLF has endorsed outline proposals and earmarked funding. A first-round pass may also include an immediate award to fund the development of the project. Detailed proposals are then considered by HLF at second-round and as long as plans have progressed satisfactorily and according to the original proposal, an award for the project is confirmed.

FTE – Full-time equivalent jobs created, based on applicant estimations.

Further information

HLF press office: Natasha Hughes or Alison Scott on 020 7591 6143 / 6032, out of hours mobile: 07973 613 820.

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