Tayside and Central Scotland

Former Dundee printing works to become £18m cultural hub

West Ward Works
Image caption The building hosted last year's first Dundee Design Festival

An £18m project to regenerate a former Dundee printing works into a cultural and creative centre has been launched.

DC Thomson's West Ward Works produced five million books and annuals a year in the 1960s and 70s.

The 200,000 sq ft building, which closed in 2010, was revived for last year's inaugural four-day Dundee Design Festival.

A charitable trust will be established to develop the building and explore possible uses for the space.

Image copyright DC Thomson & Co Ltd.
Image caption The printing works produced five million books a year in its heyday

David Cook, who was chief executive of Wasps Artists' Studios for 23 years, will lead the project.

He said: "West Ward has huge potential and, at 200,000 square feet, could become one of the largest, permanent creative spaces in the UK.

"The next phase of its development will begin a process of redeveloping the site to realise its potential economic, social and cultural impacts for the city and beyond."

Fundraising has started on the project, which was recently accepted into the Tay Cities Deal Programme.

The building will host this year's Dundee Design Festival in May.

Last year's event attracted over 7,000 visitors to workshops, exhibitions and talks.

Image copyright DC Thomson & Co Ltd.
Image caption The print works closed in 2010

DC Thomson director and chief operating officer, David Thomson said the publisher was keen to contribute to "further arts facilities for the city."

He said: "Other former industrial spaces and jute mills have been successfully redeveloped for the creative communities.

"This project will help us to understand the potential for our building in Guthrie Street and to develop proposals for the costs, funding and financial viability of the project."

The redevelopment project will be delivered in phases with occupation of the building starting later this year.

‎Stewart Murdoch, Director of Leisure and Communities at Dundee City Council, said: "West Ward played a key role in delivering the UNESCO City of Design programme when it was used to host Dundee's first design festival.

"It's been a challenging and hugely rewarding experience.

"We look forward to supporting this next phase of the development and remaining a part of its story."

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