Open Eye gets £400k towards Mann Island move

Michael Hunt

Open Eye Gallery has been granted with £400,000 of funding from the North West Development Agency towards its proposed move into Mann Island, Liverpool city centre.

The funding will be used for the construction and fit-out of its new premises within the £135m mixed-use scheme on Liverpool's World Heritage waterfront site.

The Mann Island scheme is underway and being developed by Countryside Properties and Neptune Developments and designed by architects Broadway Malyan.

The development will feature 376 apartments in two blocks and a separate block of 140,000 sq ft of commercial office space.

Merseytravel is currently working with Neptune Developments and Countryside Properties and contractors BAM to achieve BREEAM "excellence" for its new headquarters in Mann Island.

Open Eye will relocate to a 3,770 sq ft multi-storey space in the middle building of Mann Island, facing the Port of Liverpool Building, which will contain three galleries.

The gallery will be accessed from and located in a public square at the centre of the Mann Island development. Architects RCKa are designing the new spaces, which will be twice the size of the old premises on Wood Street.

The two main gallery spaces will be on the ground floor, with archive space and offices on a mezzanine level above.

Patrick Henry, director at Open Eye, said: "We want to build on our track record as a world-class gallery by re-launching in new premises and significantly raising our game as one of the UK's leading spaces for photography. Our new galleries will provide more exhibition space, in which we will present cutting-edge work by emerging and established artists. We'll also be able to present work from our extensive print archive and offer more opportunities for people to get involved and learn about photography."

Nick Brooks-Sykes, director of tourism at NWDA, added: "The relocation to Mann Island will put the Open Eye in a prime location in the heart of Liverpool's cultural and tourism offer enabling it to reach a much wider audience."

Steve Parry, managing director of Neptune Developments, said: "Open Eye Gallery has become established as one of the UK's most innovative and respected photographic galleries. They will be a hugely important and attractive part of the new waterfront experience."

Open Eye Gallery is currently preparing for relocation, with the new gallery expected to open late next year.

The Liverpool office agency team of CB Richard Ellis was retained to sub-let 30,000 sq ft of unneeded space at the new 140,000 sq ft Merseytravel offices at Mann Island in Liverpool city centre in September.

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