The red brick dusty Bonding Warehouse that sits quietly empty overlooking the River Ouse may be about to be transformed into a hotbed of creative business that has the potential to kickstart York’s economy. In a meeting next week, the City of York council will be asked to approve a £1.4m funding boost to reawaken the disused warehouse from history and set it as one of the key buildings for York’s future along with three other three other large-scale projects.
All four projects fit into the jigsaw of the authority’s new £25.8 million Economic Infrastructure Fund (EIF). The EIF, which One&Other reported on back in February, is a five-year initiative that seeks to create new jobs, expand the local economy and allow York to achieve its high ambitions as a city. The plans to reinvent the Bonding Warehouse, a landmark building on the York’s riverside skyline, into York’s digital media and cultural centre would be one huge step towards this goal. With space for 250 digital and creative businesses, this project could create 500 new jobs for York as well as hopefully drawing in both private and public sector investment.
The other projects to be mulled over by councillors in next week’s meeting include plans for an £80,000 investment into Science City York with aims to drive forward business growth and prosperity by supporting and assisting new and existing businesses. Another £50,000 from the EIF budget could also be used to support the Back le Bid campaign to bring the Tour de France’s Grand Depart to the sunny streets of Yorkshire in 2016, an initiative that is sure to boost York’s piggy bank.
The council also plans to pour an investment of £200,000 from the EIF into public spaces in the city to ensure that our exterior façade reflects a message of a modern successful city also continued into the inner workings of our economy.
According to the initial report for York’s Economic Strategy, the targets for November 2016 are to put York in the top 5 UK city economies and the top 10 European cities of a similar size; create 1,000 new jobs a year; create 75 new start-up businesses with 15% of all businesses exporting and give our city a name as an international and enterprising city.
Speaking of the York Economic Strategy, Peter Kay, Chair of York Economic Partnership, said: “This strategy will enable us to work in new ways to unlock the potential of our residents, our workforces and our businesses….We will be doing again what York has done so well in the past- reinventing itself, whilst bringing forward in a sustained way, both its unspoiled heritage and knowledge capital”.
The news of these four projects for the EIF comes just days after the coalition’s announcement of a separate investment in the Yorkshire area that will see York incorporated into the Leeds City Region and a handed billions of pounds of funding to create 20,000 new jobs, rocket the number of apprenticeships and revolutionise the region’s transport and infrastructure.