Spacemade, the first-of-its-kind operational partner for landlords looking to provide a bespoke flexible workspace directly to their customers, is turning a former restaurant in Leeds into a new coworking space. The 4,000 sq ft unit forms part of Park House, an existing Spacemade workspace, and was previously occupied by Pizza Express.
Spacemade was originally brought in by the building owner 18 months ago to take over the operations of an existing 16,000 sq ft serviced office provider to drive profitability and carry out a luxury repositioning of the space.
Following Pizza Express’ departure, the building owner opted to further develop the coworking proposition at Park House with Spacemade, rather than finding a new restaurant tenant. The new ground floor workspace is expected to open in July 2021.
Research by UK Hospitality and other trade bodies in 2020 suggested more than 70% of hospitality venues were at risk of closing in 2021. As the wider retail sector continues to adjust to the growth in online shopping and the impact of the pandemic, building owners are increasingly looking at converting underutilised retail space into flexible workspaces.
Jonathan Rosenblatt, co-founder at Spacemade, said: “A flexible and fully customisable coworking space will give a new lease of life to this former restaurant. Non-essential retail and hospitality have suffered particularly hard during Covid-19. Rather than letting disused sites become blank spaces in our cities and towns, many landlords are looking at change of use and bringing these spaces back to life with coworking. This is a trend that will come through increasingly in the next 12 months. We are currently working with several other building owners to explore options for converting former retail and hospitality spaces into next-generation flexible offices.”
Richard Hatter of Epsilon Real Estate, owner of Park House, said: “We set out to reposition the building to match future working patterns as demand for flexible space has continued to grow, particularly in prime city centre locations. We believe it offers enormous potential to become a leading coworking hub in the heart of Leeds.
“However, rather than lease the space to traditional operator we wanted to build the infrastructure ourselves and retain a working knowledge of the operations inside the building. Spacemade was the natural partner to achieve this and their platform, together with the team’s sound market knowledge, has helped us to create a new and exciting proposition that delivers the perfect mix of amenity and space provision.”
The new space at Park House joins Spacemade’s growing network of bespoke workspaces across the UK. Since launching at the end of 2019, the group has successfully delivered seven coworking offices for building owners, totalling over 100,000 sq ft. Demand for Spacemade’s new model of operation for the coworking sector continues to grow and in March they completed a £1 million fundraise.
Park House will respond to the demands of the post-Covid workforce. The building has the health and safety of occupying businesses at its core, with contactless entry and exit points, sanitisation stations and workplace distancing integral to the design. There will be hot desks, fixed desks, video conferencing rooms, and a centralised workstation area as well as seven meeting rooms, an informal lounge area, private work pods and work booths.
Well-known Leeds coffee roastery and Italian eatery, La Bottega Milanese will be opening a coffee shop within the space, which will also be open to the public.