Allia has bought the SmartLIFE Low Carbon Centre on King’s Hedges Road from Cambridge Regional College, to significantly expand its current Future Business Centre offering in the north of the city.
The new building adds an extra 13,347 ft2 of space that the organisation is converting into offices, lab space, co-working and a large conference suite on the top floor. Forming what will now be called Allia Future Business Centre Cambridge Campus, the new building is on the same site as Allia’s existing centre, which was purpose built in 2013 to help growing start-ups and small businesses through flexible workspace and free business support. As part of the acquisition, Allia also now has expanded car parking for its impact community and their visitors.
Officially opened in 2011, the SmartLIFE Low Carbon Centre trained school leavers in renewable energy and environmentally responsible building methods. The building itself was originally built to a BREEAM Very Good standard, and this aligns with Allia’s existing Future Business Centre on the site, which incorporated a range of innovative solutions in its design to make the building more sustainable, such as natural air conditioning systems and double-glazed PV units.
Allia is active in climate-related activities across its work, from working towards Investors in the Environment accreditation for its centres in Cambridge and Peterborough, to being the first UK organisation to run a Climate Accelerator with leading European climate initiative EIT-Climate KIC to support climate-tech start-ups to achieve greater impact and grow successfully. Expanding into a larger innovation campus will enable the organisation to support more tech-for-good and Cleantech organisations, as well as ventures creating social positive change and job creation.
David Broach, Director of Future Business Centres says: “We are delighted to announce the expansion of our Cambridge site, to incorporate further office, lab, workshop and conferencing space, that adapts to the needs of our tenants as they scale and grow. As the economy recovers from the effects of the pandemic, our Future Business Centre Cambridge Campus will be vital in providing high quality, flexible and affordable workspace to support our ecosystem of high achieving, tech-for-good, cleantech and social impact businesses.”
Martin Clark, CEO of Allia Impact added: “Ever since the Future Business Centre first reached full occupancy, we have dreamed of having more space so we can help more ventures and achieve more impact through supporting them to make a difference in the world. It’s great to be doing this ahead of next year’s 10th anniversary of the centre and making the Campus a reality.”
The purchase of the building and car park for £4m was enabled in part by funding from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), which Allia was awarded in 2020 for a 3-year project. As well as providing support to hundreds of local businesses across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough through free support programmes and mentoring, the funding was specifically for the organisation to extend the Future Business Centre Cambridge to increase the availability of much-needed space to assist impact businesses to scale up.