Friday, February 23, 2024

Printworks London may reopen by 2026 after developers submit plans

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Printworks London may reopen its doors by 2026, following property developers submitting plans to Southwark Council.

The plans for the space were filed over to the local council by those who own the site, and proposed the idea of the 6,000-capacity post-industrial nightclub opening again in two years.

It comes after the live-music space near Surrey Quays in London closed permanently in May last year after Southwark Council approved plans to turn the building into an office block. It had been open for six years.

According to the detailed proposal filed today (February 12), British Land and its partner AustralianSuper – one of the UK’s largest pension funds – are looking to redevelop the site in Rotherhithe into a “permanent cultural venue”.

It also outlined that both are also in talks with Broadwick, the same electronic music and arts operator that ran Printworks previously, to operate the new venue, and the reimagined space would occupy half of the existing building. This will include a new rooftop terrace space for performances, rehearsals, product launches or curated talks, as well as a smaller performance space called The Inkwells.

The remaining half will become offices and shops, which will create spaces for around 1,500 workers.

“What appeals to us about it is that it’s creating a new piece of city and a new district for London,” said Emma Cariaga, who is co-leading the project for British Land (via The Guardian). “We intend to create a permanent cultural venue and put it on the map globally. Over the last six years, Printworks has become an iconic venue for electronic music and one of the top five clubs in the world. But our plans seek to push that to deliver a much broader programme.”

General view of lasers as Zedd perform at The Printworks on November 7, 2019 in London, England. (Photo by Joseph Okpako/WireImage/Getty Images)

Before it became a live music venue, the site was once home to the printing presses for UK newspapers The Daily Mail and The Evening Standard. British Land plans to salvage as much of the printing equipment used in the building as possible, including the last press which is around four storeys high and weighs 150tonnes.

It has also been reported by outlets such as The Standard that the venue attracted more than 2.5million visitors in its six years of being open, and hosted over 300 concerts and 200 film shoots. Before it closed, it was also named the second-best music venue in the world. It was Manchester’s Warehouse Project that claimed the top spot.

“Having a big, versatile cultural venue in the area is important,” said Paul Clark, AustralianSuper’s head of real assets in Europe about the plans for 2026 (via The Guardian). “We don’t want to have a monochrome office environment or a dormitory suburb.

Both British Land and AustralianSuper hope to receive planning permission within the next few months.

The news that Printworks would be closing its doors arrived amid a crisis for UK live music spaces– with the MVT reporting that 2023 was the “worst year for venue closures”.

It was also revealed that the UK was set to lose 10 per cent of its grassroots music venues in 2023, and an MVT report from January last year warned that grassroots gig spaces in the UK were “going over a cliff” – shutting off the pipeline of future talent without urgent government action and investment from new large arenas.

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