Wigan Council has launched a development contest to transform three buildings in the historic Wigan Pier Quarter next to the Leeds-Liverpool Canal.
A six-week invitation to tender period has opened for bids to develop the three buildings at Wigan Pier, the council’s flagship regeneration project.
The three former industrial buildings are:
The Warehouse, 23,200 sq ft three-storey warehouse built in 1790. It served as an industrial warehouse and grain store until the late 20th century when it was converted into the Way We Were Museum
The Orwell, formerly Gibson’s Warehouse, originally constructed in 1777 and rebuilt in 1984 as The Orwell at Wigan Pier. Boats would originally moor inside the building and unload into the warehouse. The building has a total floorspace of 8,000 sq ft.
The Education Centre, once used to support education opportunities at The Way We Were Museum, the Education Centre has a total floor area of 4,500 sq ft.
Click image to launch gallery
The council said there has already been significant interest from developers in the buildings.
Karl Battersby, Wigan Council’s director of economy and environment, said: “We have had a mix of ideas put forward for the buildings including new office space, leisure and social destinations.
“At the end of the tender period we will review all tenders and choose a preferred partner or partners.
“This is a very exciting opportunity for a private sector partner to be involved in such a historic and iconic location and an important project for the future growth and regeneration of Wigan town centre.”
The Wigan Pier Quarter has recently seen the development of the Pier Centre conference centre and performance venue, approved planning permission for a social, arts and café venue in a former industrial building next to the pier and Trencherfield Mill continues to attract interest from major employers as a new headquarters.
The tender process is being overseen by the council in partnership with commercial property agents Lambert Smith Hampton and the Canal & River Trust.
Simon Turner, director of Lambert Smith Hampton, said: “Wigan Pier is an icon in the North West, and an important part of the history of the region. There is no hiding from the fact that over the past few years the site has started to become a relic of its proud history. Lambert Smith Hampton is delighted to be a part of the process of securing a development partner with the track record and passion to restore and redevelop Wigan Pier Quarter to its former fame, and in turn provide a catalyst for our clients’ ambitious vision for Wigan.”
To support regeneration opportunities the council has invested in new car parking facilities, created a community garden, is continuing to market and develop business at Trencherfield Mill and has hosted a major business event to showcase the Pier Quarter and its opportunities.
Wigan Pier was a coal loading jetty where wagons would unload coal on to canal barges and became famous through music hall jokes and its appearance in the title of Orwell’s graphic description of the plight of the English working class in the early 20th century.
In 2014 Wigan Council announced the start of a 10-year regeneration programme to create a ‘New Road to Wigan Pier’.
This year marks the 80th anniversary of the publication of George Orwell’s ‘The Road to Wigan Pier’.
The deadline for bids is Friday 23 June.