The Real Ideas Organisation [RIO] has today revealed that it has secured all the funding required to transform the Market Hall in Devonport, Plymouth, into an exciting and innovative new space for creative digital and immersive technology.
RIO has been working on plans for the Grade-II listed derelict building since 2013 with a vision to create 3,000 square feet of co-work space, along with a 15m diameter dome for immersive, VR and mixed reality experiences.
The £7.4million project is now fully funded with the recent announcement from HMCLG that £2,810,638 of ERDF Capital funding and £201,318 of Revenue funding will complete the finance for the scheme. The ERDF funding is in addition to £1million from the Chancellor of the Exchequer, £488,000 from the Unlocking Growth Fund courtesy of the Heart of The South West LEP, £2.5million from the HCA and £403,000 from Plymouth City Council.
In particular, the ERDF funding will help RIO to support 30 small businesses through a step change in their business journey over the next 2 years by providing guided support and flexible, collaborative workspace.
Lindsey Hall, Chief Executive at the Real Ideas Organisation said: “We have always believed in the potential of the Market Hall; not only to showcase digital creativity and innovation in the city, but also to nurture and grow local talent and realise new immersive opportunities to grow the creative economy. Critically, the Market Hall will also offer exciting new activities and facilities for everyone in Devonport, across the city and beyond.
“With the full £7.4m now in place we can proceed at pace with a view to opening the Market Hall in spring 2020 as part of the Mayflower 400 Commemorations.”
Tudor Evans, Leader of Plymouth City Council said: “The Market Hall development is a revolutionary idea, transforming an amazing – but derelict – building into a flexible and innovative workspace that will support small businesses and start-ups in the city. We’re proud to be supporting this project, which is going to play a key role in growing Plymouth’s creative economy.”
RIO appointed Classic Builders as contractor, who have been on site at the Duke Street development since March 2019 and are working to restore and refurbish the listed Market Hall as well as create a new extension to double the capacity of the space and to house the immersive dome.