The historical building in the heart of the city will provide a base for start-ups & community enterprises to work and collaborate
Allia will lease the ground floor of the Cambridge Guildhall, an iconic building in the heart of the city, transforming it into one of its Future Business Centres to support local businesses in the autumn. The non-profit organisation will let workspace to start-ups, charities and enterprises, creating an innovation business community, with a dedicated reception, a range of private offices, a co-working suite and meeting rooms. Potentially the site will also contain a shop, a café and a large exhibition space for community art groups and networks.
The new plan for the Guildhall has been made possible as many council staff have continued to work remotely since the pandemic. Office space at the council’s Mandela House offices on Regent Street meets the needs of its staff meaning that the ground floor area of the Guildhall is currently underused.
Originally the site had a Toll Booth on it in the 1200s, and a Shire House was added in the 1700s, and the existing Guildhall was built to replace both buildings for the local council in 1939. It is a Grade 2 listed building.
David Broach, Director of Allia Future Business Centres says: “Allia is extremally proud to be working with Cambridge City Council to establish a new workspace in such an iconic building in the heart of Cambridge. As the town centre continues to recover following the pandemic, the new Future Business Centre will breathe new life into the building, creating an impact business hub, alongside a new community café, retail and exhibition space, which will be used to support local community groups and organisations. The centre will also deliver business support to eligible businesses, with the aim of creating jobs, enabling sustainable growth and supporting the net-zero agenda.”
Cllr Mike Davey, Executive Councillor for Finance and Resources at Cambridge City Council, said: “I am really pleased that we’ve been able to work with Allia on this initiative which I am sure will be welcomed by small companies, start-ups and others. We’re focused on supporting business in Cambridge and helping the city centre economy continue to recover from the pandemic. The new hub will be an important part of our approach.
“Allia already runs the impressive Future Business Centre on King’s Hedges Road so by working together we are able to bring something similar to the city centre. The Guildhall offers an excellent city centre base, and with Allia’s support, I hope it will prove to be an appealing location for a number of organisations looking to use a flexible, collaborative workspace.”
Joanna Gabryel, Regional Centre Manager of Allia Future Business Centres adds: “We’re delighted to take on the running of another Future Business Centre in Cambridge, to support the local business community. Our centres are a friendly, dynamic business community and this one promises to be the same – we look forward to welcoming our new tenants and co-workers in the autumn.”
The centre is due to open early October 2022, but Allia hopes to let the offices and co-working desks over the summer, as well as taking bookings for meetings in the 5 rooms from external companies and community groups. Virtual office services will also be available.
Allia Future Business Centre Cambridge recently announced its expansion in north Cambridge, with the acquisition of the SmartLIFE Low Carbon Centre from Cambridge Regional College. The building is on the same site as Allia’s main centre in Cambridge, which was purpose built in 2013 to help growing start-ups and small businesses through flexible workspace and free business support.
When it opens the Guildhall in the autumn, it will have a significant presence in the city running a number of ‘business centres with a difference’ – which offer affordable workspace and free business support – to help environmental and social start-ups and enterprises to thrive, grow and create greater impact, as well as creating jobs for the local community.
Additionally, Allia was delighted to win Workspace of the Year award at the Hustle Awards earlier this month, run by StartUps magazine. The national awards recognise the outstanding achievements of individuals, companies, and innovation in the start-up ecosystem. The judges remarked that Allia’s centres are: “a great example of a service going above and beyond for their customers”.