Iconic Wigan landmark to be centre of attention
Plans to turn one of Wigan’s most iconic town centre buildings into a vibrant and unique place to work in the heart of the town centre will be the focus of a discussion at UKREiiF next week.
The UK’s Real Estate Investment and Infrastructure Forum (UKREiiF) connects people, places and businesses to accelerate and unlock sustainable, inclusive and transformational investment and will take place next week (May 16 – 18) in Leeds.
More than 6,000 people are expected to attend the event, including over 750 investors and developers and 250 local authorities, including Wigan.
Wigan Council’s director of place, Aidan Thatcher, will take part in a live roundtable discussion on the Tuesday where the topic is ‘Creating better places and environments for work’ using the Civic Centre as an example of what can be achieved with existing buildings.
In partnership with social mission developers Capital&Centric, the Civic Centre – the modernist concrete building that’s sat at the heart of the town since the 1970s will be restored and repurpose as part of a post-Covid drive to create standout, design-led offices in Greater Manchester’s towns, providing businesses with a cost-effective alternative to a city centre base.
Famed for their regeneration projects in Manchester, Stockport and Sheffield, Capital&Centric’s first foray into Wigan sees them repurposing the imposing modernist building. Plans for the space will be geared toward delivering incubator spaces for start-ups, co-working and small businesses, alongside larger spaces, coffee shops, outdoor decked hangouts and a roof garden.
Early ideas also include an impressive double-height entrance that celebrates the concrete bones of the historic structure, as well as new planting to introduce greenery to contrast with the concrete frame.
John Moffat, Joint Managing Director of Capital&Centric, said:
“Who says Manchester has to have the monopoly on cool work spaces? Post pandemic, people are re-assessing where they want to work, and this space could easily provide a base for ambitious and creative start-ups who want a cost-effective alternative to the city centre or somewhere closer to home.
“We’re suckers for a restoration. We’ve as much respect for these bold 70s creations as we do the majestic mills that have a hundred years on them. They’re part of the architectural narrative of the nation and – at a time when loads of these mid-century concrete buildings are being flattened – it’s important we preserve what we can.
“The bones of the civic centre are solid, it just needs some vision to create the next chapter. We want to prove we can deliver one of the best office spaces outside of Manchester, with creative spaces where people want to hang out, greenery and sensitive design that elevates the original features.”
Not only are restorations great for the character they offer, re-use of existing buildings is seen as a key component on the road to net zero, reducing embodied carbon by repurposing old rather than building new.
Councillor David Molyneux MBE, Leader of Wigan Council, said:
“The Civic Centre building is iconic in Wigan and is an excellent example of modernist architecture. We’re delighted to be working with Capital&Centric to bring the building back into use for the benefit of the borough and local businesses.
“There’s lots of exciting projects taking place in Wigan town centre at the moment as part of our strategic regeneration framework, including the redevelopment of the Galleries, Wigan Pier and Eckersley Mills, along with the Heritage Action Zone project on King Street. Together these projects will help support the regeneration of Wigan into a place where people choose to live, work, visit and invest.”
Work on initial designs for Wigan’s former Civic Centre is now underway, with a planning application expected to be submitted later this year.
For more information about the development projects underway in Wigan, visit We Are Wigan (external link)
Posted on Friday 12th May 2023