General Projects launches flexible workspace platform to cater to the neighbourhood office, light industrial and community users

Creative developer General Projects is launching a new flexible workspace business to provide bespoke design-led spaces for a diverse community of steady growth innovators, scale-ups, SMEs, and entrepreneurs. The new operator is targeting young and growing businesses based in neighbourhood and fringe locations that are underserved by the current flexible market.


General People will operate as a separate business to General Projects, while sitting alongside it. Founded on the belief that one size of space does not always fit all, General People will deliver three distinct flexible workspace typologies, each designed to enable a great user experience and generating relevant social and community value for the locations in which their buildings exist.


The three workspace types comprise:

  • Bespoke innovation hubs for value-conscious makers and light industrial businesses
  • A more traditional desk space concept, located in CBD markets, challenging the idea that beauty, impact, and value cannot co-exist
  • An emerging model designed with creative industry businesses and cultural and community uses in mind.

Former General Projects Principal Jacob Sandelson has been appointed as Chief Executive of General People and will lead the business going forward. The wider General People team also includes Joanna Lee, formerly head of operations at Uncommon, who will focus on establishing General People’s operations and Tony Steel, a long-time industry veteran across Regus and Landmark, who will lead on the businesses future sales efforts across its existing pipeline of over 300,000 sq. ft.


The innovation hub model will build on the success of Expressway, a 117,000 sq ft business and creative hub in the Royal Docks, which caters to manufacturers and makers, alongside more traditional desk space and co-working facilities. It will feature a broad mix of workspace types, including workshops, studios, co-working and light industrial space. Expressway will now be operated by General People.


General Projects’ operating ethos around value-driven, creative workspace will be expanded by General People at their proposed development in the heart of the Harringay Warehouse District, a vibrant industrial neighbourhood in north London. The 3.5-acre site, which General Projects acquired last month, comprises a mixed-use campus with 90,000 sq ft of warehousing and factory spaces, alongside 41 loft apartments and a 1.5-acre vacant development site. General Projects proposes to enhance the existing buildings and create a new 100,000 sq ft extension on the vacant land to double the size of the campus, aiming to create a cluster of more than 150 like-minded independent creative design and manufacturing businesses.


General People’s second model, TYPE, will target businesses in need of more mainstream private studios and co-working space, and will be launched at Sierra Quebec Bravo (SQB) in Canary Wharf, previously known as South Quay Building. Working with Soda Studios, it will provide 45,000 sq ft of design-led workspace for businesses of 1 – 50 people seeking flexibility, value and high-quality wellness amenity. Sierra Quebec Bravo will enable these businesses to co-locate with large corporates and financial institutions, but at a more affordable price point than offered by current mainstream flexible workspace providers. This is made viable by an innovative new partnership model between General People and the building’s owners, ensuring that consumer pricing is competitive whilst maximising landlord returns. Once open in Q1 2022, Sierra Quebec Bravo will provide all-inclusive workspace with onsite amenities, including dark fibre, artisan coffee, a spinning studio and locally produced plywood desks.


The third General People product, focused on the creative industries, culture and community uses, will be located in General Projects’ transformation of Walworth Town Hall, a landmark building in Southwark. Walworth Town Hall has been a focal point for the local Southwark community since 1894 and through General Projects’ sensitive refurbishment, it will become a dynamic cultural community and creative workspace hub.


While the first wave of General People workspaces are located within General Projects’ own developments, the team are actively seeking opportunities within buildings owned by investors, landlords, local authorities and other public sector organisations, as well as charities and community groups. The General People model will provide for these partners a sustainable long-term commercially successful solution for buildings through the creation of vibrant business communities, as well as generating tangible social and economic value.


Jacob Loftus, CEO of General Projects said: “As creators of design-led characterful workspaces for the next generation of businesses, General Projects has a deep knowledge and understanding of what occupiers – and more importantly their talent – want and need to thrive. We are now bringing that experience into the flexible workspace market, with the launch of General People. There is unquestionably a major gap in the flex sector, as mainstream operators have pivoted to offer large chunks of space to corporates to secure revenues; thereby leaving young, localised, steady growth businesses priced out. General People will provide space for these occupiers, with three distinct typologies, helping the next generation of businesses that will drive the new economy to grow and thrive, while giving landlords a commercial solution to buildings in need of reinvention.”


Jacob Sandelson, CEO of General People said: “With our three distinct models, General People will offer young and growing businesses of all kinds the relevant facilities, business support and amenities they need, in characterful, design-led sustainable workspaces – all at an accessible price point.  We will provide local authorities, investors, and landlords with viable long-term commercial solutions for buildings that need reimagining – whether they be tired commercial offices or public sector assets, such as former town halls, libraries, or cultural spaces. And at the heart of everything we do, we will continue our commitment to generating social value in the communities in which we operate, through our pioneering Community Wealth Building programmes. General People will be a different kind of flexible workspace operator – focused on long-term curation and stewardship of business hubs that give back to their communities.”


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