Legal & General has submitted plans for a new 15,000 sq ft office space in The Grafton, Cambridge.

The project will combine two former retail units to create the first office space in the shopping centre. The plans for the new office space have been submitted in partnership with flexible workspace provider x+why.

There are also plans to incorporate a further 8,000 sq ft of leisure space. The additional level will be called ‘The Galleries’ and will be dedicated to ‘break-out areas, event spaces and fun’.

The new serviced workspace will not only feature private offices catering for teams but also open-topped desk pods for start-ups, entrepreneurs, and agile workers. The scheme will repurpose spare retail units to meet demand for offices in Cambridge and encourage footfall to The Grafton and the surrounding area.

The offices will also be fully fitted out by x+why with an industrious, cool, and comfortable atmosphere created through the combination of natural materials (timber, plywood, cork, felt) and harder, industrial materials such as concrete, metal, resin, or vinyl. The front and back of the unit will be linked with a wide avenue to bring in natural light from a roof window in the main shopping concourse, and new picture windows proposed for the rear façade.

This innovative project represents one of the first retail centre to flexible office space conversion in the UK. The Grafton itself provides nearly 500,000 sq ft of retail and leisure space and has undergone extensive refurbishment after its purchase by Legal & General in 2015.

Tom Williams, fund manager at Legal & General said: “Repurposing excess retail space into alternative uses that change the rhythm of the asset is at the heart of the business plan. We are excited to be able to meet the rising demand for offices and champion retail at the same time. As retail continues to evolve, the new unit at The Grafton will help encourage footfall by putting potential customers on retailers’ doorsteps five days a week, whilst giving Cambridge-based businesses a functional, well-designed space to grow.”

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