PlusX (at Preston Barracks)
A world class idea,
On the first visit to a new redevelopment site in Hayes near Heathrow, Richard and his team were confronted with a large yellow sign installed by the Metropolitan Police with the word ‘Murder’ at the top and ‘Information Wanted’ just below.
Social issues can be commonplace at the edge of society, where industry has long since gone and transformation is desperately sought. We’d inherited dereliction and deprivation.
After buying the site in 2013, attracting employment was seemingly easier in 1906 than it was in 2016. A brilliant idea was needed to recreate innovation of a world class standard back to the site. Richard led the team to a vision that would deliver a transformation and The Old Vinyl Factory, west of London, was born.
Working with Richard on that project was Dan Anderson of Fourth Street. They researched the history of the site for inspiration. Within short order, inspiration was found: In the 1940s the original Central Research Laboratory was founded by EMI as the company’s collaborative R&D division and was based on this very site.
Here, scientists and inventors pioneered innovations such as stereo sound and airborne radar; they turned television into a commercial product and developed the CAT scanner.
Genius talent was recruited to the redevelopment team in the shape of Mat Hunter, formerly of the Design Council. Then the Central Research Laboratory was recreated to encourage innovation of a world-class ambition to drive economic productivity into the regeneration project.
With many years of R&D the Central Research Laboratory flourished and Richard wished to scale the concept, delivering the idea on other regeneration projects throughout the country.
A business model was created with Mat, and Paul Rostas, with funding from U+I.
Plus X at Preston Barracks emerged, creating a world leading innovation hub focussed on optimising social and economic impact.
A lot of pride is taken in choosing sites where industry has left, taking jobs and economic prosperity with it, which we then aim to bring back. Many of these sites have been derelict for decades and are unloved and overlooked.
Facilities are designed to reverse decline and deliver employment and economic sustainability by supporting enterprise and innovation. A PlusX building is home to freelancers and corporates alike: innovative start- ups, growth-focused small to medium size enterprises – SMEs, and larger, more established companies who want to locate near them.
Research shows bringing these talents together delivers a huge socio- economic impact to the surrounding economy over a traditional office building. In fact, 160 times the social and economic benefit of a standard office.
Long before we started to talk about a housing crisis or even a climate crisis the UK has endured a productivity crisis – being one of the poorest performing countries per capita than most comparable states. Plus X seeks to turn that tide, and in some of the most needed locations.
The idea was bold and has been delivered brilliantly attracting the interest of politicians and business leaders across the world.