Southport is set to have its first purpose-built incubator spaces for start-up businesses.
Forming part of Southport’s Town Deal Bid, Crown Buildings, located within one of Southport’s famous grand shopping arcades, Cambridge Walks, is proposed to undergo extensive refurbishment.
Repurposing an historic, empty property to create a new business incubator space to support Southport's emerging creative, digital and tech sector, the working title for the space is the ‘Enterprise Arcade’.
The Town Deal bid proposes to acquire and repurpose one of the town’s former department stores. The ‘Enterprise Store’ has been designed as move-on space from the Enterprise Arcade, supporting further growth and diversification of Southport’s economy, and bringing new footfall to a declining area of Southport’s town centre.
The near 3,000m2 flexible workspace, allowing for event and networking space to encourage cross collaboration, innovation and business growth, can house around 54 Creative, Digital and Tech focused SMEs in co-working and private office spaces.
These two distinct and exciting projects will support the development of a focused Creative and Digital District in the town to play host to a vibrant cluster and community of businesses and like-minded individuals.
The redeveloped Southport Market, near to the Enterprise Arcade, will in turn benefit from custom generated by the new business hubs, playing host to informal meet ups and socials which are known to be vital to the success of these collaborative business spaces.
Cllr Marion Atkinson, Labour Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Skills, said: “I’m delighted that, as part of the Southport Town Deal Bid, we will be able to repurpose and fill key empty properties in the Town Centre attracting more people to work in the town, supporting the retail and hospitality sector and providing more reasons for young people to stay and work in Southport.
“The Enterprise Arcade and Enterprise Store will offer a space for start-up businesses and entrepreneurs, creating a community for our existing and future talent.
“The designs won’t be like any other traditional workplace setting and will capture Southport’s distinctive entrepreneurial character.
“Together with the redevelopment of Southport Market, all three projects will work in tandem bringing new uses to underused and vacant buildings while generating substantial footfall to the area.
“Our bid has now been submitted and we have done everything in our power to make Southport an attractive proposition for the Government to invest in. Without Government support these fantastic schemes won’t go ahead. We eagerly await their response.”