Developers start work on the re-birth of Wigan’s Civic Centre

Work has begun to revitalise Wigan’s civic centre which is set to be turned into a creative workspace for start-up enterprises.
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Social impact developers Capital&Centric are getting going to restore the former council offices – the modernist concrete building that has sat at the heart of the town since the 1970s.

Having been empty for years, the progress is a landmark moment in efforts to breathe life back into the space on Millgate.

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Sabine Dunstan Capital&Centric development manager and Tim Heatley founder of Capital&Centric  outside Wigan Civic Centre.Sabine Dunstan Capital&Centric development manager and Tim Heatley founder of Capital&Centric  outside Wigan Civic Centre.
Sabine Dunstan Capital&Centric development manager and Tim Heatley founder of Capital&Centric outside Wigan Civic Centre.
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Locals are likely to see activity on site in the coming weeks, as enabling work starts to strip out the unusable fittings, as well as carefully remove fixtures with no architectural merit, from plasterboard and flooring tiles to light fittings.

Capital&Centric, which is working in partnership with Wigan Council as part of a post-Covid drive to create standout workspaces in Greater Manchester’s towns, is planning to protect and restore as much of the original modernist structure as possible.

While the team works up a detailed planning application for the site, prep of the building for its next chapter will be in full swing.

It will include taking down the defunct telephone mast mounted on the roof, removing redundant mechanical equipment and carefully shot-blasting the paint from the waffle ceiling to expose the original concrete.

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The big vision is to tempt businesses to set up or expand in Wigan, with what promises to be some of the highest quality and most creative workspaces on the market when done.

The plan is to restore it in two phases, boasting 32,000ft sq of workspace when completed.

It is hoped that the main contractor will then begin work in March/April next year with completion expected by March 2025.

Joint managing director of Capital&Centric John Moffat said: “We’re finalising detailed plans for the site, but we’re already getting going on prepping the building for an incredible next chapter.

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"We’ll be super careful to preserve all the beautiful concrete finishes, which provide so much character, as we preserve and restore this local icon.

“The Civic Centre has been part of Wigan life for decades. We want it to become a magnet for start-ups and growing creative businesses that want a standout space with real character right in the centre of town.”

Plans for the space will be geared toward delivering incubator spaces for start-ups and small businesses, alongside larger spaces, a coffee shop, outdoor hangouts and a roof garden.

More detail should be coming forward this Autumn, as the team work up a detailed planning application for submission to Wigan Council.

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Leader of Wigan Council David Molyneux said: “It’s fantastic to see work begin on the redevelopment of the Civic Centre and I’m looking forward to watching the transformation as it progresses.

“Capital&Centric’s vision for the building is exciting and will see the iconic building restored and transformed into an attractive and modern workplace of choice.

“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.”

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