Here you can see the state they were in when the TWBPT obtained them in 2018, and what they look like now. From the front, the back, in the middle building inside. If nothing else, these images show you that money was needed, and has been invested to restore these buildings! We are now near the end of the first phase of restoration works, which saw the shells restored, and the ground floors put back into use. We are still in the process of getting funding for the upper floors. About £750.000 has been spend on capital works until now.
Sunderland City Council was crucial, facilitation this process. They see the buildings as important local heritage, and refused the application for demolition by the previous owner. The subsequently bought the buildings of them, and agreed with the TWBPT they would ‘buy’ the building for £1,- and become responsible for their restoration. The buildings are also part of a local “Heritage Action Zone” around a set of deprived highstreets in Sunderland, meaning a collaboration between the local authority and Historic England, to invest time and resources into this area and in particular its heritage value, as an urban regeneration project. The aim therefor is not to profit of these buildings, but to stimulate further regeneration and investment in this area that is amongst 10% most deprived areas in the UK. Heritage led urban regeneration, to make it a better place people who live there.
The majority of the funding until now comes from grant funding, obtained by TWBPT, for both work on the material assets (capital works) as well as for more educational and community-oriented work. Starting the next phase, we are moving towards low interest loan funding, rent income, and investments from tenants. We also ran a crowd funding campaigns, and have and will continue to organised events and activities, to explore their potential to become a source of income. And of course, as a good adaptive reuse project, recycling of materials has been important!
A lot of the funding for internal works, and business development and community-oriented work has also been obtained by and with tenants, through grant funding, crowd funding, events and activities, and a lot of investment of time and generosity, like through the activities of PoP Recs.