Commercial properties could be repurposed to benefit the community and your portfolio?
Commercial properties and the built landscape looks permanent. We expect landmarks and commercial properties to remain forever. We complain when a new building goes up and protest when it’s demolished. People are fickle, and passionate about architecture. But most importantly we need cityscapes and urban environments that work for everyone involved.
Time to repurpose commercial properties to suit contemporary need
London is a city I know well. In fact I admit to being fascinated by the changes that are a constant theme in the capital. Districts fall in and out of fashion. Iconic new builds are celebrated then abandoned decades later . The ebb and flow of the Thames and the needs of Londoners is the subject of many books and research papers. But what I have noticed recently is the trend for repurposing buildings to suit contemporary needs. Commercial properties are metamorphosing
A London address on your business card an affordable possibility
We first saw this in the collaborative workspaces that have sprung up. These are especially prevalent in the tech hubs like Old St and Shoreditch. Everyone wants to be in London. But rents per square foot were prohibitive to the new breed of entrepreneur; they still are, in the main. Thus new solutions like WeWork, Instantoffices, devono and co-work have made a London address on your business card an affordable possibility. At the same time, tired office blocks in areas that are no longer attractive to companies, are also being transformed into houses. Even stadia, like the Highbury development on Arsenal’s historic pre Emirates home turf, and of course the Stratford Olympic legacy, are now properties for London’s workers. Now is the time to give commercial properties in London and beyond a new lease of life.
Meet a commercial property disruptor
This week we met a businessman who knows all about risk taking and finding buildings to repurpose. Alex Lowe is the owner of Lowe Cost Guardians. He was determined to see empty buildings doubling as accommodation. These would help people who needed affordable property in London. He began by exploring a property in Bishops Avenue N2. The basic problem with some Property Guardian schemes is they often made little alteration to make ‘guardians’ comfortable.
Alex Lowe knew there had to be another way to make this work. Having got his company off the ground he was soon looking at other properties to repurpose, albeit on a temporary basis. Developers are often quite keen to pair up with Lowe Cost Guardians as there are a number of mutual benefits to be had from working together.
Top 5 reasons to rent your empty commercial properties to a Guardian scheme
- While awaiting planning and eventual demolition a property will incur business rates if left empty. This can be avoided by renting out to Guardians.
- The vacant property can be used to benefit a community
- Young professionals have the opportunity to live in London for around £500 per month including all bills
- By renting out to Guardians a property is protected from squatters.
Let’s transform redundant office spaces in London
Alex disrupted the usual Guardian model by actually ensuring new kitchens and bathrooms were installed. It was lucky that his partnership with Restoration London has worked so well. Now young professionals have accommodation with appropriate facilities, then some! Alex’s attitude is about creating communities. He’s keen to ensure spaces promote interactions and sociability. He even has plans to potentially add modular housing units within vacant spaces to aid creativity. A detailed interview with Alex Lowe is in Estates Gazette w/e 6th August 2016
We are so impressed by what is happening with Lowe Cost Guardians. At Tunji Adebayo & Co we too are keen to see transformations of redundant commercial buildings in churches, health centres and nurseries . It’s certainly time to be creative with the built landscape and also repurposing buildings that have outlived their current uses.
If you need to find a property for a church, nursery or a D1 concern talk to us and we will help you source a property, organise planning and even help you with finance and renovation projects. Contact us here to start the conversation.