THE renaissance of one of the UK’s first enterprise hubs – dating back to the Georgian period – is set to take a major step forward next month.
Business and arts leaders in Liverpool’s Fabric District are to submit a vision document calling for the area to be recognised as a priority regeneration zone in a bid to trigger investment and job creation schemes.
The submission to Liverpool City Council’s cabinet will coincide with the official launch of the area on May 10, which will be followed by the hosting of a three-day international free arts festival sponsored by LJMU and FINSA, featuring a wide programme of events and exhibitions, including a number of previously unseen world-exclusives.
The Fabric District, which takes its name from the area’s historic associations with the fashion and textile industries is located between Islington and London Road, and borders Lime Street and the Knowledge Quarter, home to the city’s universities and the £1bn Paddington Village scheme.
Comprised of business owners, property developers, community groups and Regenda housing, as well as Professor John Hyatt, Director of Art LABS at the Liverpool School of Art & Design, stakeholder team members have worked on the Fabric District regeneration project for the past two years.
Their ambitious mixed-use vision document includes a detailed plan to revitalise the neighbourhood, with broad changes to its existing streetscapes, and identifies ways to make it more welcoming to both new businesses and to the public, as well as attracting new residents.
Following precedents already set by other successful regeneration schemes within the city, such as The Baltic Triangle, the team have already delivered a number of tangible transformations within their own district.
The Tapestry, a landmark building located on Kempston Street was previously home to a family printing business before being re-purposed by owner Jason Abbott, into a 25,000 sq. ft. creative hub which is now comprised of studios and workshops, plus a bar and events space.
Now at 80% occupancy, a number of the city’s creative and fashion businesses have already taken up residence at The Tapestry including dance studio MD Productions and co-working space DoES Liverpool, and the venue has an active ‘waiting list’ of businesses looking to move in.
The Fabric District is also home to several student accommodation complexes, and additional residential developments are well underway, with an estimated 3000 new rooms being built over the next three years for students as well as young professionals.
Growth in the area’s night-time economy has also been witnessed, in part helped by London Road bar and venue, The Reeds, which opened recently with an energetic programme of live music and DJ events, and attracts a diverse audience.
Commenting on the cabinet submission and launch event, Fabric District stakeholder and owner of The Tapestry Jason Abbott, said: “This is the culmination of many months of work by all of us who believe 100% in the area’s potential. The cabinet submission along with May’s official launch are not just milestone events within the ongoing revitalisation of the area, but they also act to demonstrate our investment in and dedication to the scheme, and the commitment we share in driving Liverpool’s new Fabric District forward.”