The Office opens sixth site in Marylebone
The Office Group announces that it has opened its sixth site in Marylebone. The site is a Grade II Listed Building, formerly part of British Rail’s Headquarters and has been standing empty for 30 years. It will be run alongside the five existing sites across the south of England offering alternative managed offices space.
The Office Group provides flexible managed office space and is committed to combining an entrepreneurial atmosphere with a real commitment to sustainable working environments. Like all of its existing sites, the Marylebone building is located in one of the most deprived 25% of wards in the UK (as defined by the Government’s Index of Multiple Deprivation), Church Street Ward in the Westminster Local Authority District.
The Office’s first five buildings, in Kings Cross, Islington, Farringdon, Shoreditch and Bristol have all been highly successful, averaging at or above a 90% occupancy rate. The new property in Marylebone will continue the trend of offering quality space to small and medium-sized businesses that might not otherwise be able to afford the rent for such locations.
Besides providing affordable, quality office space for small and medium-sized businesses in under-invested areas in London, The Office looks for ways to make its buildings eco-friendly. The Marylebone building includes low energy and sensor lighting throughout, recycle points on each floor and secure bicycle lockup facilities to encourage employees to cycle to work.
Charlie Green, Director of The Office said: “The Office Marylebone is in an excellent location and will provide outstanding workspace for incoming businesses. The Office is growing and developing and with the continued support of Bridges Ventures, we will look to acquire further buildings in similarly commercially attractive locations throughout London and other city centres.”
Philip Newborough, Chief Executive of Bridges Ventures said: “We are delighted with the success of The Office so far and we are confident that the Marylebone site will be a successful addition to the group’s existing portfolio. Not only does The Office provide high quality, good value commercial space in central London, but it also plays a positive role in helping to attract growing businesses to the areas in which it operates, thereby furthering local regeneration.”
Notes to editors: Bridges Ventures is a venture capital company with a social mission whose commercial expertise is used to achieve social or environmental aims as well as attractive returns for investors. Bridges Ventures key backers include Sir Ronald Cohen, co-founder and former chairman of Apax Partners, 3i and Doughty Hanson. Three funds have been raised to date:
Community Development Venture (CDV) Funds I & II
The first fund, CDV Fund I, totaled £40m while the second, CDV Fund II, totaled £75m, beating its original target of £50m by 50%, and was closed in 2007. Investors in the second fund include HSBC, Co-operative Financial Services, Barclays Business Banking, Lloyds TSB, and Citigroup, individuals including Tom Singh of 3i, Dr Mike Lynch of Autonomy Corporation, Harvey McGrath of Man Group and Lloyd Dorfman of Travelex, as well as pension funds and endowments including the Universities Superannuation Scheme, the West Midlands Pension Fund and All Souls College.
The Bridges Ventures CDV funds deliver social returns both on a geographical and sector-specific basis, which are measured using the Bridges Ventures social IMPACT scorecard and reported to investors alongside their financial returns.
All investments are socially screened at the outset and must meet one or both of the following two criteria:
1. Regeneration – businesses must be located in the most deprived 25% of the UK, as defined using the government’s index of multiple deprivation, and contribute to their local community in at least one of the following ways: – Employment creation – Substantial expenditure to suppliers – Serving the area as a core market
2. Sustainable business – an ability to demonstrate strong social benefits in sectors such as healthcare, education, the environment and ethical business.
Bridges Ventures typically invests up to £10m at a time in growth businesses including early stage, development capital and management buy-outs. So far £55m has been invested in 36 companies, many of whose employees have come out of long-term unemployment. To date there have been four successful and profitable exits: Harlands in Hull, SimplySwitch in South London, HS Atec in Yorkshire and EB2 in South London.
Bridges Social Entrepreneurs Fund Seeded by the Bridges Charitable Trust in 2008, the Social Entrepreneurs Fund is an innovative financing solution that is tailored to the needs of ambitious social enterprises. Over £4 million has been raised by nine Founder Partners who have contributed donations to the Bridges Charitable Trust to create an Evergreen Fund. They include NESTA, Sir Ronald Cohen, Nigel Doughty, Harvey McGrath, Apax Foundation, The Generation Foundation, Lehman Foundation, Deutsche Bank and the Bridges Ventures team who have allocated funds from their profit share.
The fund will invest in the form of equity-like capital, which shares in the risks but also the returns of social enterprises. The investment will be coupled with hands-on advice and support to help the social enterprises realise their potential.
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