Legal & General Investment Management Real Assets (LGIM Real Assets) has launched FOUNDRY, its suburban co-working product to boost local employment and the levelling up of workspaces. FOUNDRY enables businesses to choose a direct product that can be rented by the day, week, or month from a trusted landlord at the inception of their business. The space is beautifully designed and repositions an urban product, putting it in areas that are poorly served and completely curated to the towns it sits in. A place to work, retail and events are combined within one space. As brands mature and scale and office occupation needs shift, companies can move to Capsule, LGIM Real Assets’ ready-to-go workplace offer which provides high-quality, furnished and work-ready space.
It is estimated that FOUNDRY will support more than 400 SMEs in its first six months of operation. LGIM Real Assets has ambitions to roll out the initiative more widely with 15 other shopping centre, retail park, leisure, office, and residential Build-to-Rent locations being considered. FOUNDRY is a cross-platform as well as cross-sector product and can flex to feature workspace, micro industrial, managed office, micro-retail, amenity and food and beverage.
The Beacon Shopping Centre in Eastbourne, East Sussex is the pilot site and comprises a 4,000ft² micro retail hub for seed and concept retail brands and event space at ground floor level and 12,000ft² co-working space at first floor. Work is already underway with the building due to open later this month. Two more locations will follow this year.
The micro-retail hub will include seven rentable ‘wardrobes’ and two serviced retail spaces giving local makers and merchants a platform to launch ideas and grow organically. Successful brands could then expand into the main shopping centre. The co-working space features a mix of rentable desks, two to six-person offices and three amenity retail rooms which will be rented to bookable operators for therapy, yoga, and health treatments.
Denz Ibrahim, Head of Retail and Futuring for LGIM Real Assets, said: “FOUNDRY was born out of the Future Retail Blueprint we designed last year with the ultimate mission to create curated, future-ready places for communities across the UK. FOUNDRY democratises workspace outside of London by levelling up some of the inter-regional inequalities and gaps in opportunity that exist for all business, but particularly start-ups. We strongly believe that wherever in the country you are based, every business should be able to stay local and still go far. As curators of the built environment, we want to create incredible places for people, diversify our occupier base, drive long-term value for our investors and deliver social value by nurturing new talent and accelerating an incubation culture through our assets. Brand enhancing co-working space is in very short supply for solopreneurs, untethered and hybrid workers outside the capital. We believe in the UK and want to drive opportunity and civic pride back to entrepreneurial towns that have been overlooked and underinvested in for generations. FOUNDRY is the space where these ideas are born, bloom and intersect.”
Adam Walker, Co-Founder of FOUNDRY, commented: “FOUNDRY is a space to work, sell, meet and eat. It’s a place to find endless inspiration and collaboration and a platform for community representation. This can’t be replicated in a spare room or lock-up garage. We are harnessing the power of the shared economy to create our own ecosystem of brands and entrepreneurs. These are forgotten urban areas with a wealth of talented people that want to grow their business alongside entrepreneurs on the same growth trajectory.”