Heritage Lab Community Interest Company is the new owner of the Old Wine Warehouse (Age & Sons) in Charlotte Court.
The company says it aims to return the building, which has been shut for nine years, to public use for enterprise, arts and entertainment, supporting local talent.
Last used as Age and Sons restaurant and before that as a martial arts club, the building will reopen as a creative co-working space, restaurant/café, performance venue and speakeasy/bar.
The site was formerly a Victorian wine warehouse of the family run Page & Sons, which is still in family business in Ramsgate after 220 years.
It then spent several years as a martial arts centre before being redeveloped into the Michelin Guide recommended Age & Sons in 2009.
Full of original features, the building is in need of little restoration to breathe new life into it to create a thriving hub in the local community and town centre.
This historic building will become a multi purpose community and arts venue supported by a modern cafe and restaurant serving high quality, locally produced produce.
Research conducted with Canterbury Christ Church University identified a need for more creative work accommodation in the town and Heritage Lab’s first venue will co-working space for those n the creative sector and a bran new intimate performance venue for the local community and tourists.
Heritage Lab chair Bernie Morgan said: “We want to help regenerate our town by bringing disused heritage buildings back into life to boost jobs and stimulate growth in Ramsgate.
“Town centres are changing rapidly and we want to be a positive part of that change, Thanks to the support of our partners we will be able to use this beautiful building to support the local community and creative sector.”
Heritage Lab says weekly performances are predicted to attract around 10,000 visits a year, and the site will create 15-25 new jobs on site and support up to 75 creative jobs stimulating further growth in the local economy.
The £550,000 project is funded through a combination of grants and loans from Kent County Council, Kent Community Foundation and the Architectural Heritage Fund and will provide three new work spaces.
The building, which contains original features, is in need of some restoration.
Kelcey Wilson Lee, Director of Programmes at The Architectural Heritage Fund, said:“The Age & Sons building is typical of a class of historic asset that is often overlooked by developers but can provide high-quality, town centre floorspace that supports local business needs while celebrating the stories that make our communities unique.
“Heritage Lab is playing a leading role in bringing this model for regeneration to Ramsgate, and that’s why the Architectural Heritage Fund is proud to include them among our pioneering Heritage Development Trusts.”
Derek Murphy, KCC’s Cabinet Member for Economic Development, added:“Kent’s No Use Empty scheme is pleased to be working with Heritage Lab CIC to bring this commercial property in a conservation area back into use.
“The property has been vacant for nine years and, once refurbished, it will provide new employment opportunities for local people and make a significant contribution to the regeneration of Ramsgate town centre.”
Heritage Lab is in the process of securing tenants and operators for the ground floor restaurant and the basement bar and performance venue.
The co-working space will open after refurbishing the building on the first floor and will provide superfast fibre broadband, private booths and break out areas.
If you are interested in becoming a member of the Age and Sons coworking studios: please register your interest with firstname.lastname@example.org
Those interested in using the space will be invited by Heritage Lab to finalise the design ensuring it meets the needs of the community.
James Horne, Social Loans and Grants Manager at Kent Community Foundation said: “We are pleased to be one supporters of this project through our social loans and grant programme, KSELF. The regeneration of this space is important as it will open up a number of opportunities to the local community.
“The affordable co-working space will support local businesses, including start-ups. We are looking forward to seeing Heritage Lab’s creative vision in action and how it is benefitting people in and around Ramsgate.”
Heritage Lab has also been involved in a project to refurbish the Granville Bars on Ramsgate’s East Cliff for exhibitions, community events, shared working and conferences.