An innovative project on the site of a former leisure centre in Lewisham, described as a ‘pop up village’ of workshops, retail space and flats, is almost ready for the first tenants to move in.
The organisers are taking ‘expressions of interest’ from anyone interested in renting one of the retail pods, workshop units, and two large High Street shops at PLACE Ladywell. Those interested in taking space have less than six weeks to submit applications and must apply before March 20
The four-storey building at 261 Lewisham High Street, the former Ladywell Leisure Centre, has been designed by the acclaimed architect Richard Rogers. Retail units are on the 660 sq m ground floor, which is currently being installed by SIG Building Systems Ltd.
The upper levels will provide temporary housing for homeless families on the borough’s housing waiting list, in 24 two-bedroom apartments.
The retail units will not be charged at full market rental rate.
Pods will be available in various sizes catering for creative industries, a community café, retail, leisure and studio space for hobby businesses.
The project is being overseen by Meanwhile Space which is a community interest company, pioneering social enterprise by providing innovative solutions for empty commercial space. Director Eddie Bridgeman said: “I hope that what we will be able to create on the ground floor will be of interest for all the different corners of the Ladywell community.”
The space is expected to be ready for occupancy by businesses and families in May 2016 The building is designed by architect Richard Rogers of Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners, the firm responsible for the Y: Cube and many other well known projects. They have been shortlisted for an award celebrating the best examples in projects with a clear social benefit.
Lewisham Cabinet Member for Housing Councillor Damien Egan said: “We hope to show that we can build high quality homes more quickly and more cheaply. Crucially, we can assemble and disassemble these homes and move them to the next vacant site. With the scale of the housing crisis, there is a need for us to innovate and to find ways of building homes more quickly, we have every reason to do so now.”
The building will be onsite for four years though the units are designed to last 60 years so that the council can easily relocate the units when long term plans for the land are confirmed.
The community is currently being encouraged to come up with ideas for future use of the space and leave their opinions about what it could be used for in the long run on the front wall. Some suggestions so far have been a cinema, a trampoline park, and office pods for people who usually work from home.
For more information visit www.meanwhilespace.com
Follow Danielle on twitter @DanielleATatton