There are now less than 50 days to go until the official opening of Tŷ Pawb on Monday 2nd April (Easter Monday).
At this month’s Town Centre Forum, council officers involved in Tŷ Pawb provided an update on the work undertaken so far and a taster of plans for Dydd Llun Pawb – the launch event of the development.
Rebeccah Lowry, regeneration manager at Wrexham Council told the meeting that progress was ‘going well’, with Wrexham Council on track to take possession of the centre on 15th March from the contractors.
From then there are a few days scheduled for a post-construction ‘deep clean’, with traders set to begin moving into their new stalls from the 19th of March.
There is due to be a ‘soft launch’ on the 26th, however the official grand opening is April 2nd.
There will be more detail on here for the full opening run down, however it was confirmed there will be a firework display (we are told from the top of Tŷ Pawb!) at around 8:30pm in the evening.
The meeting of various town businesses was reminded that there was expectation of a good turn out, with over 400 people being in the opening parade itself during the day, so if each brought one or two people along themselves then a ‘huge number’ of people would be in town.
Rebeccah Lowry added: “There are around 400 people involved in the carnival or creating one of the floats involved in the parade. Even they all bring one person into town, we’re expecting a lot of people on that day.
“Any businesses in that area, I would strongly urge you to consider to be open. There will be a lot of people around.
Previous events were mentioned where when extra people attend an event some traders have not stayed open to make the most of it, so the possible economic benefit has not been felt, plus the unfriendly sight of shuttered shops welcoming those who did attend.
“I known sometimes organised events can be flat as shops choose not to open. However I would encourage you to off the back of that number of people coming in.”
One key talking point around town at the minute is who will take over the three food spaces and what sort of traders will occupy the stalls once open.
Echoing comments he made at the Forum dinner, David Cupit (who will take on the role of operations manager at Tŷ Pawb in the coming weeks) told the Forum that the interest around stalls and food offering has been “overwhelming”. He added that if “expressions of interest and negotiations go well” the facility is ‘looking at 60% occupancy, and that is with two months to go’.
He continued: “We already have a full catalogue of arts events and groups. There is a huge buzz of potential there.
“The trading works hand in hand with community groups and the arts programme. I am really keen to speak to anybody who may with to express an interest.”
Wrexham.com understands that a number of stalls who relocated from the Peoples Market last year to the Butchers Market, will be moving to new stalls at Tŷ Pawb in March.
However when we recently asked Wrexham Council for details on how many stalls at the new facility have been let and what procedures are in place to attract new stalls to the Butchers Market if displacement occurred, we did not receive a reply.
We’ve since been told that due to ‘commercial sensitivity’ details on how many stalls have been let cannot be provided at the moment.
Manager of Eagles Meadow, Kevin Critchley queried if there are plans for Tŷ Pawb to be open seven days a week – pointing out that there is a “huge market on Sundays that Wrexham doesn’t use”.
The Forum was told that the “business plan has always been seven days a week” and that the team involved in Tŷ Pawb hoped to “create an environment that makes them (the traders) want to be open)”.
Rebeccah Lowry added: “It will be required six days within certain hours and we hope we can provide the environment on the seventh day.”
The Fourth Street business plan (PDF here) notes that opening of the ‘OW Facility’ will be 363 days a year – only being closed Christmas and Boxing Day.
Although there is a note that states the public opening hours were modelled at being 10am-6pm five days a week, but also 10am-10pm two days a week. Recently Cllr Hugh Jones, who’s lead member role oversees the project, said this original business plan was still being followed.
Although not mentioned at the forum, Wrexham.com understands there has been more interest than there is spaces for the ‘food court’ cafe/bar units. Some raised eyebrows at the initial due diligence contact forms that asked for the look, feel and what people would bring to Tŷ Pawb rather than requesting financial and experience details of those applying.
Although the initial business plan considered the Oriel running their own cafe style outlet it appears such plans have been scrapped, despite a unit reportedly being planned and specced up last April, and kit since being purchased by them already.
Three food outlets, rather than the original one stated in the business plan, will now feature when Tŷ Pawb opens.
The original business plan does note “OW may choose to retain flexibility in the lease should the option to bring the operation back in house be favoured once the wider OW has become established.”
Responding to a question regarding the origins of interested parties, Mr Cupit did state they were not looking for national chains, rather looking to focus on ‘Wrexham people’, adding the perfect plan in his eyes would be Wrexham people buying from Wrexham traders, who would be selling produce and items made and sourced locally.
After last week’s Forum Wrexham Council issued a press release calling on anyone interested in taking on a stall at Tŷ Pawb to get in touch – Anyone interested is asked to contact Jade Parry at the Housing and Economy team on 01978 315404.