A project to regenerate West Ward, DC Thomson’s former book and annual print works in Dundee, is now underway.
A charitable trust will be established shortly to develop the building as a cultural and creative hub, exploring a range of possible uses of the space as a cultural venue, business incubator and innovation centre.
It follows a period of successful research and analysis, led by Bryan Beattie of Creative Services, to establish the potential redevelopment of the West Ward building and its uses.
David Cook has been appointed as Project Director to lead the development. He said: “I’m delighted to have been appointed to this very exciting project, which will build on Dundee’s incredible track record of design-led regeneration.
“West Ward has huge potential and, at 200,000 square feet, could become one of the largest, permanent creative spaces in the UK. The next phase of its development will begin a process of redeveloping the site to realise its potential economic, social and cultural impacts for the city and beyond. ”
Previously Chief Executive of Wasps Artists’ Studios for 23 years, David brings a wealth of experience in culture-led regeneration and reinventing historic and listed buildings, including the £6.8m redevelopment of the Briggait, and the RIAS Andrew Doolan award winning South Block in Glasgow.
It is planned to raise funds and invest in the building over the next 10 years from a wide range of partners and investors. Fundraising for the venture is in progress and the project was recently accepted into the Tay Cities Deal Programme.
In the coming weeks, a Chair and Board members will be recruited by the charitable trust to deliver the project.
DC Thomson Director and Chief Operating Officer, David Thomson said: “We’re delighted to be investigating opportunities for the future use of West Ward.
“DC Thomson is fully supportive of Dundee’s Cultural development, including the V&A Dundee project, and we’re keen to contribute to further arts facilities for the city. We’ve been exploring ideas for the potential revitalisation of our West Ward building as a cultural space with initiatives like the Dundee Design Festival which will take place again in 2017.
“Other former industrial spaces and jute mills have been successfully redeveloped for the creative communities. This project will help us to understand the potential for our building in Guthrie Street and to develop proposals for the costs, funding and financial viability of the project.”
To mark Dundee becoming the UK’s first UNESCO City of Design the building played host to the inaugural Dundee Design Festival in May 2016, attracting over 7000 visitors to the space to participate in design focused workshops, exhibitions and talks. The Design Festival returns to West Ward Works for an extended five-day run in May 2017 following the theme of ‘Factory Floor’ celebrating makers and their machines.
The redevelopment project will be delivered in phases with occupation of the building commencing later this year.
Stewart Murdoch, Director of Leisure and Communities at Dundee City Council, said: “Over the last eighteen months Leisure & Culture Dundee has worked with DC Thomson and partners in the city to bring West Ward back to life.
“West Ward played a key role in delivering the UNESCO City of Design programme when it was used to host Dundee’s first Design Festival. It’s been a challenging and hugely rewarding experience. We look forward to supporting this next phase of the development and remaining a part of its story.”
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