A cultural hub for creative industries has been officially opened after the transformation of a prime town centre space was completed.
Colonnade House, in Warwick Street, Worthing, could house up to 22 creative businesses at a time, with a ground floor events and exhibition space. Business leaders and cultural figures gathered for the launch on Friday, two days before applications close for the first allocation of space.
Worthing Borough Council led the building’s revamp, using a £245,000 grant from the Coastal Communities Fund to finance the project.
Leader Dan Humphreys said: “This is a special use of this building and not only is it providing something for the cultural sector but improving this corner of the town quite significantly.”
The authority has identified a need for high-quality incubator space for small and medium-sized enterprises.
It follows a similar investment in The Sphere, at Northbrook College, in Broadwater – an additional option for small businesses.
It added a further £45,000 to complete the refurbishment.
A total of ten serviced workspaces will be available in the restored building.
Speaking at the launch, David Freud, chairman of the Adur and Worthing Cultural Partnership and artist in residence at Worthing Museum, said: “Culture is currently thriving in Adur and Worthing and that is partly due to the inspiration and leadership of Alex Bailey (council chief executive) and the funding and support of the councils.”
“Long-term the provision of arts and culture is not done by the councils, it is done by the people in the community, expressing themselves. This facility is a facility to enable people to collaborate.”
Applications for space closed on Sunday, with more than 40 potential occupiers attending for viewings beforehand.
Artist Hala Sabet, who applied for one of the spaces, said the space would be an important facility.
“You need to be part of a hub and be surrounded by other artists,” she said.
“Not only is there studio space but you can be part of all the activities that will be going on, too.”
For more information about the project, www.adur-worthing.gov.uk/regeneration/colonnade-house