Firm specialising in the restoration of concrete buildings wins Wigan civic centre makeover contract
Social mission developer Capital&Centric has been appointed by Wigan Council to breathe new life into the town’s old civic centre.
The firm specialises in the restoration of concrete buildings and, rather than have the 1970s grey edifice torn down, the local authority wants to put it to new purposes.
As Wigan Today revealed last month, the plan is to turn the Millgate premises into a business hub for supporting start-up enterprises.
It used to accommodate council offices, but since the rejuvenation of Wigan Town Hall and the creation of the Life Centre, there has no longer been a municipal need for the place.
The civic centre was also for public service use as well but has stood empty for several years now.
When the Grand Arcade was being built in the mid-noughties, the Civic Centre figured in further plans for the complex – later scrapped when the recession hit – which involved knocking it down in favour of a swish new complex of restaurants, smaller offices and even a cinema.
But the only use it has been put to since closing has been for location shooting of the Morecambe-based crime drama The Bay where its facade was dressed up as a police station.
Capital&Centric says 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.
Joint MD John Moffat said: “Who says Manchester has to have the monopoly on cool work spaces? Pos- 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.