Ipswich: Work started to transform former Zest nightclub into live music and comedy venue

IPSWICH: Work has begun to transform a former town centre nightspot into a live music and comedy venue, it can be revealed today.

The former Zest nightclub, which has been closed for more than four years, is to reopen as The Malthouse Conference and Events Centre and Switch Nightclub offering live music and comedy nights as one of Suffolk’s biggest clubbing venues. Up to 40 jobs are expected to be created at the venue.

Work has started on a major refurbishment of the building aimed at creating an “invigorating” atmosphere for clubbers.

Simon Lewis, director of Switch Nightclub, said: “One of our mission statements at the venue is to provide customers with a safe environment to enjoy their time here, as well as using a well-trained bar team to enable people to be served quickly in order to let people enjoy more of their evening.”

CLS Holdings, owners of the former maltings in Princes Street, confirmed to The Evening Star that the building has been let to entertainment firm SLAC Leisure Ltd. Last week The Star broke an exclusive story about the club’s fresh start which was welcomed by civic leaders.

A grand opening of the new venue is expected to take place later this year.

Mr Collins, director of the Malthouse Events Centre, said: “The Malthouse Conference and Events Centre has taken the stunning characteristics of the old Grade Two listed maltings building with a modern sleek design.

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“With a capacity of 1,000, the events centre is designed to be versatile for a multitude of uses. It’s exciting to have such an amazing building. It’ll be fantastic when the venue is being used again to its full ability.”

The venue is set to boast an audio and visual installation supplied by Ipswich-based company Eclipse Sound and Light Ltd. The events centre will also include three contemporary designed bars with a large main dance floor, booth seating and a VIP upper-level balcony.

Richard Tice, chief executive at CLS, said: “We are delighted to have completed this letting with SLAC and in particular to be supporting a local business in providing a new and exciting venue within Ipswich. We very much look forward to working with Andy and Simon over the coming months and wish them every success in their new venture.”

Due to open in August this year, the venue is expected to attract many members of the community by hosting various entertainment events aimed at every age range.

n What do you think of the plans for the venue? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk.

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