Work has begun the first phase of converting the historic Daimler Powerhouse in Coventry into the city’s first purpose-built art production facility.
A major transformation has begun to convert a historic industrial site in Coventry into a new £2.4 million creative hub for artists in time for UK City of Culture 2021.
Scaffolding has now gone up and construction work has begun on the Daimler Powerhouse, once home to the world-famous car factory on the edge of the city centre, which is being transformed into the first purpose-built and collaborative art production facility in the city.
The Wigley Group, which owns Sandy Lane Business Park where the site is based, is undertaking the works for planned completion in March 2021.
The former centre of engineering excellence will become a centre of creative excellence, providing dedicated spaces for artists and resident creative companies led by Imagineer Productions which has been based on site for over a decade.
It will be focused on outdoor arts, theatre and working with young and emerging artists, and will play an integral part in supporting City of Culture in 2021 as a production centre for major performance works.
Pictured from left: Cllr Tariq Khan; James Davies from The Wigley Group; Gaynor Sharp from Imagineer Productions; Charlie Brooks; Kathi Leahy; Mike Vining from Vining Ltd; Andrew Higham; Robert Wigley; and Zumurad Hussain from CWLEP.
The first phase of construction will ensure the building is structurally sound and stable for the future.
Charlie Brooks, construction director at Wigley Building and Development, said: “It is a building of such historical importance that a major part of the scheme is retaining its character and features, such as the brickwork arches and gantry cranes.
“We will be integrating its industrial past with all the requirements of a modern creative hub which will see it take on new importance in the city.”
Jane Hytch, chief executive of Imagineer Productions, said: “This project has been a dream for over 10 years.
“Daimler will become a much-needed, dedicated working space for many artists and companies in the city, and an important legacy to City of Culture 2021.
The redevelopment is being funded with £1.9 million from the Cultural Capital Investment Fund which is resourced from Coventry City Council and the CWLEP’s Growth Deal.
The Wigley Group is contributing a further £350,000 as well as a highly-discounted 20-year lease on Daimler Powerhouse, along with a neighbouring building.
Daimler Powerhouse is seen as the first stage in a planned regeneration of the wider site which encompasses Sandy Lane Industrial Estate.
The Wigley Group is developing a masterplan to transform Sandy Lane Industrial Estate into Daimler Wharf, a vibrant new neighbourhood for living and work, culture and leisure.
Pictured: A computer-generated visualisation of the proposed Daimler Wharf development.
James Davies, managing director of The Wigley Group, said he is delighted to see work starting on the site after ten years of hard work and collaboration.
“The Wigley Group is a proud supporter of UK City of Culture 2021 and has been a major contributor to enable this development to happen, and we are incredibly proud that Wigley Building and Development is now delivering what will be a tremendous asset for that year and beyond”, he said.
Cllr Tariq Khan added: “This is an excellent partnership project that will help nurture local creative businesses, and will be accessible to local communities.
“It will have a long-term impact on the city for the UK City of Culture year and in the years ahead.”