The stunning transformation of a Grade II listed building in Leamington to attract digital and creative businesses has been completed as part of the first stage of the town’s ten-year Creative Quarter initiative.

Regeneration specialist Complex Development Projects (CDP) is working in partnership with Warwick District Council to revitalise the Old Town to create inspirational spaces for the flourishing
creative industry to continue to grow and boost the area’s economy.

The historic building is part of a wider development at Spencer Yard in Leamington Old Town which includes the SAE Institute moving into the Old Nursery while there remains available units in The Old Dole Office.

The Fold is the first space to have opened in Spencer Street following the completion of the work by historic building specialists Croft Building & Conservation.

The previously unused Grade II listed United Reformed Church has been transformed into over 19,000 sq ft of open plan co-working areas and office space for award-winning independent marketing group Cogent.

Tucked away in the church crypts are state-of-the-art sound and virtual production studios along with editing and innovation suites to record podcasts, music and voiceovers.

The hot desks, breakout spaces, ten meeting rooms and six hideaways, café & bar, and members’ club have been carefully designed with the creative industry in mind.

The mezzanine level has been extended and the triple-glazed atrium features a central glazed staircase which links all three levels.

The renovation work at The Fold has received funding from the Future High Streets Fund as part of the Government’s plan to renew and reshape town centres – making them a more attractive place to live, work and visit. The financial package also includes a loan from the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) which was arranged by Frontier Development Capital.

Ian Gathard, CEO of the Cogent Group, said The Fold was already receiving excellent feedback from its members.

“Our members seem as excited about the space as we are, I feel very lucky to work here,” he said. CDP has definitely made the most use of the space and the fit-out is to an extremely high standard, while retaining the stunning original features.

“The Fold has lived up to our expectations and more. It is a beautiful spacious environment that lends itself to creative meeting of minds for freelancers, small business owners or members of the community that have booked a meeting.

“Another dimension which sets The Fold apart is the professional standard green screen and recording studios, which is something Leamington’s creative community sorely needs.”

Ian Harrabin, Managing Director of CDP, said The Fold would act as a catalyst for future creative projects as part of the decade-long Creative Quarter masterplan.

“The completion of the fit-out at The Fold signifies the start of the creation of the Cultural Quarter in Leamington since this is a tangible difference for everyone to see and make the most of,” he said.

“We have spent around £5.5 million bringing the Grade II listed United Reformed Church and the other buildings back into use and the transformation is incredible.

“This inspirational place to work at the Fold is only the start. We are continuing to work hard to revitalise other neglected buildings to bring them back to life to provide spaces for gaming and digital businesses as well as an exciting art, cultural and community events programme.”

Cllr Chris King, Deputy Leader, and Portfolio Holder for Place at Warwick District Council, said: “It’s really impressive to see a previously neglected and underutilised building transformed into an exciting new space, with multiple uses and great commercial potential.

“I would like to congratulate all the teams involved in bringing it well and truly back to life. I am confident that our creative community will thrive in this inspiring venue.”

Caption: From the left, Cllr Chris King from Warwick District Council, Ian Gathard from the Cogent Group and Emma Harrabin from Complex Development Projects