A HIGHLY-ANTICIPATED venue is set to open after a £4 million transformation.

Touted as being the key to regenerating the western seafront, Rockwater Hove will open its doors to the community on Wednesday.

The venue, formerly called The View, was stripped back to bricks after being taken over by owner Luke Davis.

Now, his rooftop “coffee and cocktails” vision for the site – more than two years in the making – is finally a reality.

Speaking behind the stunning Balearic beach bar, the venture capitalist, who lives nearby, said: “People would walk past this venue and always have the same discussion – if you had the money, what would you do with it?

The Argus: Owner Luke Davis on the Rockwater rooftop Owner Luke Davis on the Rockwater rooftop

“I believe the coast of Brighton and Hove to be one of Britain’s most stunning beauty spots, and now we’ve developed a location that enables families to take this in surrounded by the ultimate hospitality experience.

“It’s not been the easiest of years to launch something of this scale in a sector hit hardest by Covid, but every minute has been worth it to be able to open this to the community, at a time where coming together safely couldn’t mean more.”

The venue’s opening comes just one year after Mr Davis announced his vision for the site – revealing he rang up and purchased the venue from its previous owner “after a couple of drinks”.

Since then, the IW Capital chief executive has found success throughout a tumultuous year.

Shacks by the Shore on the promenade have been selling takeaway beer and nibbles – with service to its heated Covid-secure igloos on the northern green.

“Our aim when deciding to evolve the concept of Rockwater was fundamentally a home from home for Hove’s residents and our guests from further afield,” Mr Davis said.

“We think we’ve achieved just that, having created an effect of multiple spaces in one.

The Argus: Rockwater Hove is due to open on Wednesday picture: China CooperRockwater Hove is due to open on Wednesday picture: China Cooper

“The three storey indoor/outdoor space allows for cosy fireside catch ups, to a quick mid-stroll pint next to a stunning Art Deco bar to perch on while you take in the stunning seaside view.”

The doors to Rockwater will open on Wednesday from 7am.

People will be able to sit downstairs to enjoy coffee and cocktails with a beachside view through large seaside windows, which can open in the warmer months.

The dog-friendly venue also boasts fantastic views of the Hove seafront from a rooftop, which will be complete with fixed seating.

'This will unlock seafront investment' 

COMMUNITY figures have praised the development ahead of its launch. 
Ward councillor for the area, Chris Henry, believes the venue will help to bring investment to the area.

He said: “The Western Esplanade area has been in decline for years but now that we have this well-designed and thoughtful venue in the centre of it I believe we can unlock a whole raft of improvements. 

“As a council we can build on this success because now more than ever, during Covid, local Hove families need the outdoor health and well-being facilities that are located on this stretch. 

“Currently however, without some investment and focus they will remain largely unused and uncared for, so now that we see how Rockwater has brought local residents, and not just tourists, back to this area we can make a real effort to get improving other areas, such as the pitch and putt and tennis. 

“My support of Rockwater was not a given as I was conscious of the heritage of this area, but crucially I was impressed by the owners of Rockwater’s sympathetic design of the building and they way they reached out to engage with local people to ensure they took us on their journey with them.”

The Hove Seafront Residents’ Association, dedicated to conserving and promoting the area, have also praised the development. 

A spokeswoman said: “The overwhelming majority of the local community have been very supportive and are excited for the opening of Rockwater.

“It will be a vast improvement on what the building has offered in the past... community hub for everyone to enjoy.”

The venue is currently asking Brighton and Hove City Council for permission to build on its rooftop with a hopeful completion in the summer of 2021. There are also plans for sea swimming, a tennis club, pilates, yoga and other exercise classes to engage the community.