Work will start in spring on a project to transform Wakefield’s former market hall into a stunning new events space called the Wakefield Exchange.
The transformed site will offer you the chance to socialise and will feature an exciting programme of events and activity which will also attract significant new visitors into the city to boost the health of local high streets.
The new events space will be supported by a vibrant food and drinks offer, featuring a range of cuisine created by independent and local businesses.
The £7.7 million transformation, which is being supported by funding from the Department for Culture, Media & Sport, will also provide skills training opportunities for people and workspace to attract new creative businesses into the city centre.
Yorkshire builder, William Birch & Sons Ltd, has been appointed to carry out the renovation of the iconic David Adjaye designed former market hall, on Union Street. They will start work on the site in April.
Cllr Michael Graham, Cabinet Member for Culture, Leisure, and Sport, said: “This is a very exciting time for Wakefield residents. Once complete, the Wakefield Exchange will offer a fantastic venue in a landmark building.
“It will operate throughout the week with an exciting programme of events and activities, supported by a mouth-watering food and drink menu from independent businesses.
“We have seen how popular previous events at the site have been with residents and wider visitors, including the Festival of the Moon and the Fire and Ice exhibition during the Festival of the Earth.
“We have listened to the feedback from those who visited, and the new site will provide much needed new events space to attract visitors into the city centre on a permanent basis.
“As well as creating jobs in the catering sector, there will also be business spaces on offer to small and medium digital and creative businesses, ensuring that the Wakefield Exchange plays its part in the regeneration of the city centre.
“I am pleased that the contract has been awarded to a Yorkshire-based company and I look forward to seeing them on site soon.”
Simon Potter, Construction Director at William Birch & Sons Ltd, said “We can see the big ambition of the Council to create an exciting space in Wakefield and are getting our plans in place to commence works in the coming weeks.
“It is great to be working on a project that will have such an impact on the creative sector in Wakefield, and through our works we plan to have an equally big impact by adding real social value through offering employment, skills and training opportunities including school and college visits, work experience and apprenticeship opportunities.”
Work is due to be completed by the end of the year when the building will be handed back to us. There will then be a period for fitting out the events hall and the Wakefield Exchange will open to the public in spring 2024.
Wakefield Exchange has been funded by The Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport, who fund the Cultural Development Fund, which is administered by Arts Council England, and by us.