EXCITEMENT is building for Portsmouth’s new creative quarter.
Work starts next month on transforming the arches of the Hot Walls in Old Portsmouth into 13 art studios, as well as a new brasserie and cafe.
The plans went on show yesterday to the public at the Round Tower.
The arches will get new glass frontages and be heated to allow creative businesses to set up shop.
The scheme, called the Hotwalls Studios, is being paid for by a £1.75m grant from the government’s coastal communities fund, as well as £40,000 from the Partnership for Urban South Hampshire and £100,000 from Portsmouth City Council.
Portsmouth hopes to breathe new life into the arches in much the same way as has been done at Brighton seafront.
A smart new 40-cover restaurant, complete with a terrace overlooking the harbour, will be moving into a renovated space next to the Round Tower.
The tower itself will get new windows.
Bev Lucas, project manager, from the city council, said: ‘It’s really exciting.
‘This will be a unique facility for the city.
‘It’s about creating new spaces for new creative businesses to start up and grow.
‘It’s a wonderful location in one of the most special parts of Portsmouth.’
The refurbished area is set to open during the summer of 2016.
The studios will be advertised for rent after Christmas and the project is seeking a commercial operator to run the restaurant.
An arts and craft market was held yesterday.
Tom West, 30, from Southsea, an artist, said: ‘It will be a valuable resource for the creative community in the city.
Roberta Fidora, 28, an illustrator from Horndean, said: ‘It’s a really great setting with all the historic buildings around.’
Deniz Beck, from Southsea, one of the architects on the project, said: ‘It will be lovely to sit having a gin and tonic overlooking the harbour.’