A regeneration model with a difference
In 1996 the London Docklands Development Corporation decided as part of their legacy to procure a place for creative enterprise, and invited developers to make proposals. They selected Urban Space Management, whose many regeneration projects since 1972 have included Camden Lock, Gabriel's Wharf, Merton Abbey Mills and Old Spitalfields Fruit and Vegetable Market.
USM’s winning approach was different from the standard development model in that it was evolutionary, starting immediately with low cost, low risk activity. A phased, rolling programme of investment was employed, the scheme growing organically from day one, and this has continued to be the guiding principle. The essence was to avoid reliance on a large funding commitment, and the inevitable delay in securing it, and to move forward step-by-step by re-investing any surplus in arts activity or new building.
As the long leaseholder, USM had the freedom to develop the site’s potential, responding to demand and opportunity. The original target was to make 75,000 square feet of space habitable for people to work, perform, rehearse and exhibit. In the first ten years, with a mixture of good fortune, sustained effort and the agreement of the Trinity Buoy Wharf Trust, over 90,000 square feet of space has been let, of which 30,000 is newly developed. The available space is 100% full, and demand strong enough to support the steady expansion of new space.
USM has used this "boot strap" sustainable model in a number of its successful sites, and believes it can offer a uniquely practical solution to many regeneration problems.
For more information on Urban Space Managements work in regeneration: www.urbanspace.com
Early in the Trinity Buoy Wharf project we devised an innovative way of building affordable new workspace.
The Trinity House workshops closed in 1988, when the site was purchased by the London Docklands Development Corporation.
The Trinity Buoy Wharf Trust was set up to hold the land and the vision in trust for the people of London. It holds a 125 year lease and USM in turn has a 124 lease from the Trust.
USM has been at the forefront of urban regeneration for over 40 years, both as a developer and manager.