Harrogate Borough Council has appointed a property adviser to develop a business case and masterplan for the future of the town’s convention centre site.
Harrogate Convention Centre, a conference and exhibition venue, contributes in excess of £60m to the local economy each year.
Recent changes to the conference/exhibition market and increased competition from elsewhere have led to Harrogate Borough Council, which owns the site, to look at options for future-proofing the venue. It has appointed Cushman & Wakefield in Leeds.
The council believes that reconfiguring the site, which currently provides 182,986 sq ft of conference and exhibition space, could unlock new development opportunities.
It has already sought specialist advice on the market opportunities for the convention centre itself and this will inform the business case for investment in the wider site.
Stephen Miles, partner at Cushman & Wakefield, said: “This is an important instruction that will identify a way of facilitating improvements to the convention centre whilst simultaneously unlocking new development opportunities that will benefit the town centre economy.”
Ben Pretty, who is project managing the commission, added: “Harrogate Convention Centre is a well-established facility and is located on a prime site in the town centre which is likely to also have strong market appeal from other occupiers.
“We are excited to be advising on this potentially transformational scheme for the city region.”
Cushman & Wakefield is leading a wider team comprising Arup, IPW, Gardiner & Theobald, Group Ginger and DWF.
Simon Kent, director of the centre, said: “The business case is the first step in what is potentially a very exciting opportunity for the convention centre.
“It’s good to see this initial stage of the project in the hands of a company which has huge amounts of experience in our sector.”
He added: “I’m looking forward to seeing the company’s ideas for further integrating the convention centre into Harrogate’s town centre and strengthening our position within the events industry.”