Gleeds will continue to project manage the scheme until construction begins on site, which is expected to be January 2020, before taking up its role as employer’s agent through to completion.
The historic Old Vinyl Factory covers a total of 17 acres and was originally built in 1907 by the Gramophone Company to act as the headquarters of EMI, where ground-breaking records by the likes of The Beatles and Pink Floyd were pressed. Since its closure, the complex’s many buildings have been transformed by development and investment business U+I and it now comprises nearly 650 homes, 550,000 sq. ft. of office space, and 70,000 sq. ft. of retail and leisure facilities; including a cinema, gym, cafés and restaurants.
In 2015, a pioneering research and design hub from U+I known as the Central Research Laboratory (CRL) took up residence in the site’s Shipping Building. The revolutionary co-working space now supports tech entrepreneurs at every stage of their lifecycle and was the inspiration behind the development of the neighbouring Powerhouse, which is set to be used primarily as an innovation hub for the regeneration specialist’s Plus X business.
Plus X strives to blend flexible workspaces with a wealth of facilities and support including media studios, prototype workshops and bio labs. Designed by Pilbrow and Partners, the reimagined Powerhouse will give the brand the scope to offer 29,000 sq ft of BIM Level 2 standard accommodation ideally suited to start-ups and SMEs, as well as reinstating the building’s original Blyth Road frontage and creating an attractive pedestrianised piazza and café.
Kevin Griffiths, Director at Gleeds, said: “The Old Vinyl Factory is a site with a fascinating history and incredible architectural heritage which has been given a new lease of life by U+I. The latest phase of works to reinstate the Powerhouse will not only serve to add to that story but will also support Plus X’s vision of accelerating the growth of hundreds of fledgling creative businesses. I am thrilled that Gleeds is to play such an integral role in the delivery of this exceptional building”.
Richard Upton, Chief Development Officer at U+I, went on to say: “By offering inspiring workspace, incredible facilities and countless opportunities for collaboration, The Powerhouse will play a key role in supporting young and established businesses and entrepreneurs to flourish. The Plus X Innovation Hub will further position The Old Vinyl Factory as a world-class creative and innovative campus. Our partnership with Plus X will allow us to unlock potential and drive business growth, innovation, collaboration and positive social impact among occupants and further transform the local area.”
Plus X hopes to start welcoming entrepreneurial designers and engineers into its new premises by October 2020.