Legal & General has teamed up with Adam Walker, the founder of workspace firm Crate, to set up a suburban co-working space platform in the UK.

LGIM Real Assets, the real assets division of Legal & General’s investment arm, has launched Foundry, a platform aimed at repurposing commercial and residential buildings into flexible workspaces for startups and other small businesses.

LGIM Real Assets said the Beacon Shopping Centre in Eastbourne, East Sussex will be transformed to become Foundry’s pilot site, adding that it expects to add two more locations this year.

The plan is to roll out the initiative more widely with 15 other shopping centre, retail park, leisure, office, and residential build-to-rent locations being considered, LGIM Real Assets said.

Bill Hughes, the global head of real assets for Legal & General Investment Management, said: “Foundry is an opportunity for LGIM Real Assets to support a more inclusive and sustainable economy and reposition assets to serve as community hubs which deliver positive and more inclusive social outcomes for the local community.

“The new Foundry platform forms part of our continued drive to be a market leader in place-based impact investing in the built environment. By helping to scale regional businesses, we create an impact ecosystem around our assets that is more financially sustainable.”

Denz Ibrahim, head of retail and futuring for LGIM Real Assets, said: “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.”

Walker, co-founder of Foundry, said: “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.”

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