The Public cultural venue still on track

Designers working on the much-hyped West Midlands cultural venue, The Public, are hoping to claw back outstanding payments and complete work on the project, despite the venue sinking into administration earlier on this month.

The organisation put itself into administration after its costs rose to £54m, some £14m over budget, but it is understood that key funding organisations – which include Arts Council England and Advantage West Midlands – have this week indicated that they intend to finish the building and its key components.

That’s good news for design groups, including All of Us, Digit, Tomato, General Public and Ben Kelly Design, many of which have been working on the project since its inception in 2002 and, in some cases, are still owed fees.

All of Us business and strategy director Phil Gerrard, who declined to comment on the financial implications, says the consultancy ‘has had every indication that [the Public] expects to complete the project’. Administrator Pricewaterhouse Coopers was unavailable for comment.

The Public’s vivid pink, and at times controversial, building was conceived by architect Will Alsop, who announced last week that his practice has been sold and renamed SMC Alsop. The Public was originally designed to house an events space, a digital art gallery, restaurants and cafés.

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