Making better, more productive and efficient use of property assets to deliver social and economic impact. According to the UK Green Building Council, at least 80% of the buildings that will exist in 2050 already exist today. Re-using and repurposing existing buildings provides improved environmental outcomes (specifically with regards to embodied carbon) compared to new construction. Existing buildings can also provide more affordable space as they can be operated and fitted out at significantly lower costs than new ones.
Specific Challenge 1:
To deliver on a strategy or plan for growth, often already being worked on by a local government or planning team.
Specific Challenge 2:
To protect existing city uses that contribute to the local identity and sense of place of an area.
International House in Brixton was opened by 3Space in Autumn 2018. It is a home for entrepreneurs and locals, facilitated by a BuyGiveWork initiative. Across 65,000 sq ft there is a range of space to suit different budgets, with fixed desks and private offices of varying sizes available, and a co-working and social space. BuyGiveWork is a cross-subsidy operating model and service that results in space being given away when space is bought. Rent from those buying goes to providing space for diversity, inclusiveness and innovation, and to supporting those who are too often priced-out of cities. All tenants have the opportunity to work, learn and interact with 3SPace’s Give Hubs. Each ‘Buy’ employee dedicates an hour of their time a month to supporting others in the building, often through skill sharing, attending an event or mentoring – activities which are coordinated by 3Space.
The fundamental benefit of the model is to offer an interface between private businesses, civil society, start-ups, charities, culture and creation. International House delivers similar job numbers, but 15 times the social value of a typical office building, or £413 per sqm at International House versus £27 per sqm from an equivalent proposed new development. It contributes around £16 million Gross Value Added to the local economy and generates more than £2.7 million in social value outputs each year, including £0.8 million in rent forgone to civil society. The integrated approach of the BuyGiveWork project has helped to fulfil the long-term ambitions for Brixton’s Creative Enterprise Zone by providing an affordable local testbed for business start-up innovation alongside embedding community use. It has also furthered Lambeth’s Creative and Digital Industry (CDI) Strategy and the Brixton Economic Action Plan by introducing new CDI businesses to the area as well as providing a platform to work and engage with the public in an alternative and informal space.
International House has acted as both a ‘market maker’ by supporting CDI uses, whilst also protecting important social, economic and cultural activities. For example, providing a new home through the ‘Give Space’ offer to Photofusion, the UK’s largest and most comprehensive photography resource centre and longstanding Brixton resident. The BuyGiveWork model allows for an integrated offer in which commercial activity not only cross-subsidises social uses, but also provides jobs, apprenticeships through the council’s Made Apprentice Scheme, and opportunities for local residents and businesses. It is also the first Living Wage Building in the UK, complementing local commitments through the Creative Enterprise Zone to promote inclusive growth, improved working conditions and progression opportunities for employees in the creative sector.
Using the example of International House, Brixton:
£900,000 – INVESTMENT: Invested by 3Space and partners on improvements to the asset. On plant, services and a full-scale refurbishment. The starting investment was £90K, and tenants moved in from day one. 3Space used a process of rotating fit-out and tenant partnerships to provide cash flow to cover operating costs. The building refurbishment was completed within 8 months.
£1.1 MILLION – RENT: 3Space has a full repairing lease with the Council, taking care of all maintenance of the building and pays a fixed rent to the Council with a total commitment to £1.1 mil over 5 years.
£12m – TURNOVER: Turnover of International House tenants per annum.
c£800,000 – EFFECTIVE DONATION: Rent foregone to civil society per year, as an effective donation to these activities.
£2.7m – SOCIAL VALUE: Social value generated per year by International House.
£15.9m – GROSS VALUE ADDED: GVA for the local economy (c. £5m per year once additionality is accounted for)
In 2019 the following impact was reported:
- 230 – New jobs.
- 337 – People employed.
- 130 – Businesses had access to space.
- 22 – New youth led businesses started.
- 300 – Events per quarter.
- 65 – Non-profits have a home free of charge.
- 30 – ‘Not in Education, Employment of Training’ young people into employment.
- 36 – Apprentices.
- 64 – Work experience placements.
- 2800 – People Attended training.
- 4916 – Volunteers.
3Space International House, Brixton:
The 70,000 square foot 12 storey International House is London’s largest affordable workspace and first Living Wage building in the UK. The former Lambeth Council office has been repurposed for creative industries and civil society uses. You’ll find sewing machines on the 8th floor, darkrooms on the 2nd, 58 local non–profits on the 6th, and new tech start-ups on floors in-between. The scheme has pioneered a new approach to the use of government assets but also an innovative new way to create inspiring work environments – underpinned by 3Space’s BuyGiveWork initiative where for every desk bought by a business 3Space gives one away.