Around the old Woolwich Arsenal a transformation is underway that will create more than 400 jobs in a new arts hub – the Woolwich Creative District (WCD).
The £32m redevelopment is fully funded by Greenwich council and The Sunday Times reports that this vast, handsome site could be the new South (east) Bank.
The creative hub will include large-scale concert venues, rehearsal and studio spaces, offices, places to eat, and a base for internationally acclaimed theatre companies such as Punchdrunk.
The flexible space will provide opportunities for public interaction and involvement, training and education, as well as being available for hire for weddings, parties, conferences, community meetings or events.
The new developments include:
- a venue with excellent acoustics that can house an audience of 1200 seated or 1800 standing
- an open-sided quadrangle courtyard for performance seating up to 600
- five rehearsal studios, which can also be used as informal performance spaces
- artists’ studios and offices for resident companies
- a black box theatre seating up to 450
- a generous public facilities, including a cafe / bar and space for hire for community group and events.
In the summer of 2020 (phase 1), the immersive theatre company Punchdrunk will take over three sprawling warehouses.
A diverse range of tenants will be ensured by hiring 70 per cent of space to cultural organisations and local community groups at subsidised levels, and the remaining 30 per cent to commercial operators; looking for rehearsal venues, conference facilities and event space.
The site on the River Thames has long been identified as a key driver for the local economy and will provide a new foundation in the continued revival of Woolwich and the surrounding area.
It’s anticipated that the new Creative District will provide more than 400 local jobs in addition to new roles during construction.
The district will have a significant economic impact on Woolwich and the surrounding areas and bring benefits to the whole borough, much as the Arsenal did when it was operational.
It will help to reinforce the changing perceptions of Woolwich as a destination and increase the benefits of Crossrail.
It will also support the economic and social development of Woolwich and its surrounding communities, particularly those of Plumstead, Abbey Wood and Thamesmead.