The University of Liverpool is in discussions about the possibility of restoring the historic Wellington Rooms in Liverpool and bringing it back into use.
The Grade II listed building – originally used for high society dance balls and latterly as the city’s Irish Centre – is situated on Mount Pleasant in the city centre. It closed in 1997 and subsequent regeneration proposals have failed to get off the ground.
The University has begun working with Merseyside Building Preservation Trust and Liverpool City Council on a feasibility study which could see it brought back into use as an innovation hub to give students enterprise and entrepreneurship training, and provide office space to help new businesses develop.
Professor Stephen Holloway, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Innovation and Enterprise at the University, said: “Our ideas for the Wellington Rooms are focused around retaining more graduate talent and send out a clear signal that you can set up a business in Liverpool.
“The building is ideally placed in the centre of the Knowledge Quarter close to the universities and Liverpool Science Park. It would provide a place where people can meet, come together and generate new ideas and innovate in different ways.
“We’ve got several exciting ideas such as bringing students in to undergo enterprise and entrepreneurship training by the business community. There is also the possibility of young entrepreneurs taking office space in the building and we’ve got management and business schools that can mentor and coach young people and SMEs that could support them.”
Assistant Mayor, Councillor Nick Small, said: “I am excited by the vision that the University and the Merseyside Building Preservation Trust have for the site. They are markedly different from previous plans but fit well with the way in which the area has developed in recent years.”
Bill Maynard, Chair of Merseyside Building Preservation Trust, added: “The Wellington Rooms is a hugely impressive building which we simply have to find a way of bringing back to life. It is in a fantastic location at the heart of where our universities are based, which means it is an ideal place to be used as an innovation centre and a place to grow new businesses.”
More information will be released when a firm proposal is drawn up and details of how the project could be funded are finalised.