“Everybody I speak to has a story about this building.”
Developer Nick Smith is well aware of the responsibility he has in trying to restore one of Morecambe’s best-loved venues.
Nick is currently working inside the former Crystal T’s and Concorde Squash Club in the town centre to prepare it for a hoped-for major renovation.
He wants to convert it into an artisan market hall with a performance venue, shops and artist studios.
His vision would bring the building full circle, as it was first built as a market hall in 1895.
It was later home to the Palladium Cinema before becoming home to the nightclub and squash club in the early 1980s.
Crystal T’s closed in the mid-2000s and the squash club shut in 2008.
Former Morecambe High School pupil Nick, who lives in Carnforth, then took over the building and, subject to planning permission, hopes to bring his vision to life within the next four to five years.
“It’s a building everybody knows about,” said Nick.
“There’s quite a following for it and for the manufacturing of it.
“I want to create something that will hopefully keep people coming back to Morecambe.
“I’m hoping to put it back to being a market hall. An artisan, quality market and food hall upstairs, market space downstairs, and then what was Crystal T’s can be an events space which hopefully will work in conjunction with the market hall.
“Beyond that, five or six artist creative studios, a few shop units downstairs and then the two squash courts possibly some sort of leisure use; a climbing wall and play centre.
“Then on Victoria Street a new shop front, retail units on Victoria Street and at the main entrance of the market hall to the rear of the property there would be two more shop units.”
Nick also wants to be faithful to the many memories of the building.
“Everything that I’ve found in the building that has any historical value I’m keeping and eventually I’ll get it all together and have a history wall.
“If people bring in information about the cinema, nightclub, squash club, anything interesting to this building, I will use it.
“So far I’ve found fragments of wallpaper, material from the 1950s, old squash team photos and a Morecambe Music Festival leaflet from 1909.”
Nick is not the only developer in Morecambe hoping to restore a much-loved venue.
Ian Bond, owner of the Alhambra building in the West End, plans to convert its upper floors into a boutique hotel and restaurant while also trying to revive The Carleton nightclub for events.
Meanwhile the Friends of the Winter Gardens theatre continue the ongoing process of restoring the beautiful seafront theatre which is also once again being used for entertainment.