£1 million overhaul and a new name for blaze-hit Wolverhampton venue
A troubled Wolverhampton nightspot is to be given a £1 million overhaul as part of plans to make it one of the region's best entertainment venues.
Starworks Warehouse in Wolverhampton is due to reopen tonight as the Wolverhampton Academy, following a major investment from a London-based businessman that will also see 40 new jobs created.
It is the second relaunch this year for the Frederick Street venue, which was hit by a blaze in May that caused serious damage to a newly refurbished bar area, causing its temporary closure.
Digital entrepreneur Neil Kettleborough has taken over the running of the 3,000-capacity venue, with a view to bringing major gigs and music festivals to the city.
He said: "The new Wolverhampton Academy will take over where Starworks left off and really plug the gap left in the region since the temporary closure of the Civic Centre for refurbishment.
"We want to bring big shows, gigs and music festivals but also create a venue that can be hired out for private events, conferences and large scale exhibitions through the week.
"The Wolverhampton Academy will really put the city on the map and attract some big big names to the region."
Mr Kettleborough owns Shoreditch digital marketing firm Chalk Global and ran bars and clubs in London before initially taking on a management role at Starworks earlier this year.
He is also behind Boxing Nation – the UK's biggest Facebook boxing platform – and will be working on bringing a host of sports shows to the venue, including professional boxing bouts, snooker and MMA.
He said the venue would be recruiting around 40 new staff from the local community.
Improvements are already underway, with new security and CCTV systems in place as well as new tills and an upgraded booking system.
Events already in the pipeline for the remainder of 2018 include Fight Club Pro wrestling, Foreverland and a General Levy concert, while the 1883 VIP bar is expected to open in the coming weeks.
The venue became Starworks in 2016 and hosted raves. It underwent a revamp earlier this year and hosted the official Wolves promotion party.
However, it was ravaged by fire in May, prompting the departure of manager and Civic Halls boss Mark Blackstock.
The Wolverhampton Academy is not connected to the Live Nation backed Academy-branded venues.