Property Acquisition

ASC Grafton Quarter during construction
ASC Grafton Quarter during construction

‘Affordable’ workspace for artists has been unveiled as a high priority within the Mayor of London’s draft ‘London Plan’

The Mayor of London’s draft London Plan states that planning obligations may be used to secure affordable workspace… Particular consideration should be given to the need for affordable artists’ studios… s106 agreements should include evidence that workspace will be managed by a workspace provider with a long-term commitment to maintaining the agreed or intended social, cultural or economic impact.

The inclusion of ‘Affordable’ workspace for artists and makers within a development proposal can unlock a subjective site. This can be further aided by a guarantee of a respected and financially secure charitable end user.

The Mayor’s ‘Artists Workspace Study’ published in 2014 listed ASC as the largest top-tier artists’ workspace provider. We are a registered charity with the core aim of providing ‘affordable’ workspace to artists and makers. Our success has been achieved through a flexible business model that welcomes commercial partnerships. We are viewed as a strong covenant by developers, local authorities, government agencies and banks.

ASC grew big by following a business model that took advantage of cheap end of life property. In response to increasing rent levels we moved away from this model in 2012. Our current business plan is largely based on acquiring long leasehold or freehold property at below market value. This year we will own over 4553m2 of new build property acquired at below market value through s106 agreements.

Over the past five years ASC has supported five large scale mixed use development schemes. All included affordable workspace for artists and four included ASC as end user. All achieved full planning approval.

We are seeking developers planning mixed use and commercial schemes where affordable workspace provision for artists and creative industries will help procure a positive planning outcome. We are interested in both purchase and rental at below market value.

Not all schemes are suitable or will benefit from our involvement. In the first instance we will carry out research and advise on suitability. Our geographical area of interest is primarily greater London however we will consider sites in other areas of the UK.