What would you like to see the former McDonald’s / Co-Operative building in Southport town centre become?
The site was earmarked to become the town’s first German Doner Kebab outlet last year, but those plans have not come to fruition.
Instead, the site – surrounded by millions of pounds of new investment – is now back on the market and sure to attract lots of attention.
Three years ago, when the submission for the successful Southport Town Deal application was being put together, an imaginative concept drawing for the premises was created – not as a new restaurant – but as a ‘Creative and Digital Hub’, bringing creative business into the heart of the town centre in modern accommodation.
The recent closure of Poundland on the ground floor of the premises provides opportunities for development.
When it opened in the 1980s, McDonald’s saw people queueing down the road to get their hands on a Big Mac.
A food outlet such as German Doner Kebab does make sense, as the building sits next to Southport Market, which was transformed into a brand new food, drink and events venue thanks to £1.4 million funding in July 2021 thanks to Southport Town Deal and the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority.
I am sure someone will suggest that it should become Southport’s first ever Burger King…
Or perhaps not. On the opposite side of Eastbank Street, work is taking place to transform the Crown Buildings above The Entertainer toy shop – and on the ground floor in the former Gallary Grill outlet – into the much-needed Southport Enterprise Arcade.
The project is supported by £1.5 million in Southport Town Deal funding.
One of the major ambitions of the Southport Town Deal project, it will see the conversion of the four-storey Grade II Listed Crown Buildings into a new high tech, collaborative and affordable workspace for small businesses.
Earlier this year, the new Techedia offices opened in the Cloisters building on Corporation Street. The remaining half of the building is due to be occupied by another professional services firm.
Techedia owner Matthew Townson said: “Techedia is helping to develop a professional services community in the town centre. It’s much needed if this town is going to thrive.
“There is a massive need for new office space in Southport town centre, good quality space fit for the needs of modern companies.
“Southport can attract people from further afield. This is a very attractive town to live and work in.
“We are not just working on keeping talented people here in Southport, but also attracting them from elsewhere in the UK.”
A short walk away, on Coronation Walk, Southport-based indie games developer Fallen Planet Studios has just received a £500,000 investment ahead of its latest release as it continues to develop. Formed in 2013, the studio was one of the world’s first games companies to focus solely on VR.
These innovative, high quality enterprises are bringing daily workers, better skilled jobs and more life into the town centre, which will bring huge benefits to the local businesses already there.
There is a real need for more high quality office space for firms in the tech, creative and digital sectors and others.
Southport BID is leading the charge for the diversification of the local economy and is keen to attract new investment.
Earlier this month, newly-appointed Southport BID Director Karen Potter said: “I know Southport BID is working hard to lead the diversification of the local economy, with the opening of the new Techedia offices earlier this year, the Southport Enterprise Arcade opening next year and some other superb creative, tech and digital businesses that are growing.
“We need to show the wider region that Southport is changing and has the capacity to change further and that this is an attractive place to relocate to, to start up in or to invest.”
More investment is pouring in nearby.
A £1 million scheme to revamp Scarisbrick Avenue has recently been completed.
This autumn, work is due to take place on pedestrianising nearby Market Street and making King Street one-way, in a bid to increase footfall and attract more visitors to the area.
Work is currently taking place to convert the former BHS department store on Chapel Street into 30 new apartments on the upper floor with shops, a cafe and a pub on the ground floor.
Southport town centre is evolving, and the possibilities are endless, and exciting.
Could the former McDonald’s / Co-Operative building support the growing creative, tech and digital sector in town?
Or could it become another hospitality venture to add to the Southport Market offer?
Or a place for attractive town centre living?
With the millions of pounds being spent nearby, it has huge potential for the right investor.