New education and innovation campus completed

  • 26th January 2024

The construction project was completed in under a year and has transformed the building into an education and innovation hub

Trilogy Real Estate and LaSalle Investment Management have completed the 135,000sq ft refurbishment of The Amp, a new campus for education and innovation in the Aldgate district of the London borough of Tower Hamlets.

Around 40% of the building will be immediately occupied by two pre-let tenants: Nottingham Trent University’s Confetti Institute of Creative Technologies and Access Creative College.

A further two floors of the building have been let to the London College of Creative Arts (LCCA), bringing the building up to 66% occupation ahead of completion.

Allsop advised Trilogy during the leasing to LCCA, and Mark Kleinman at James Andrew International acted for LCCA.

Education and innovation

The construction project to transform the buildings at 41-71 Commercial Road was completed in under a year to meet the operational requirements of the education occupiers, who needed an opening date in September 2023.

The Amp provides space for education and innovation in a well-connected location, with one foot in central London and the other in the dynamic creative scene in the East of the city.

Specialist onsite facilities include recording studios, performance space, and an arena for gaming and e-sports.

The Amp reprises Trilogy’s successful partnership with LaSalle Investment Management, which has previously resulted in the transformation of Republic London from a dated office and disaster recovery space to a thriving education campus with over 15,000 students attending six universities and private education providers.

An urban campus

The next phase of Republic London was granted planning consent in October 2023 and will also include 715 rooms of purpose-built student accommodation and a state-of-the-art data centre, adding an infrastructure component to this mixed-use development and creating a new kind of urban campus centred on innovation, higher education, and accommodation.

Robert Wolstenholme, founder and chief executive of Trilogy Real Estate, said: “The Amp is the latest example of our strategy to develop the best innovation campuses in the country.

“Focused on breathing new life into unloved buildings in our city centres and high streets, our goal is well-connected hubs for universities and colleges that offer easier access and more choice for students.

Tenants include the Confetti Institute of Creative Technologies

Creating opportunities for collaboration

“Our buildings create opportunities to collaborate and even co-locate with industry, business, the local community, and the third sector.

“The Amp has been an ambitious project to take on – we were blessed with a building with good bones, but which needed total modernisation with a 12-month turnaround.

“And it is testament to the skill of the team and our contractors and designers that the result belies the huge effort that has gone into getting it into tip-top condition in time and on budget.”

Chris Lewis, managing director of LaSalle Value-Add Investments, adds: “The Amp is a great example of our venture with Trilogy, which is creating exciting new urban higher education assets to meet the increased demand from universities in gateway cities.

“It is part of LaSalle’s broader European value-add strategy, bridging the gap between infrastructure and real estate, with a focus on new economy sectors including urban accommodation, student housing, private medical facilities, distribution, and data centres.”

Working in partnership

The Amp was acquired by Trilogy and LaSalle from the Department for Education in a sale facilitated by the Government-owned property company, LocatED, in the summer of 2022.

The partnership was advised on the acquisition by strategic real estate consultancy, Kauffmans, which also acted to structure the pre-leasing agreement for Access Creative College and Confetti Institute of Creative Technologies during the negotiations to acquire the building.

Work on the seven-floor refurbishment began in October 2023, led by main contractor, Oktra; project manager, Quartz Project Services; architect, Hawkins\Brown; and Civic Engineers.

Flexible and sustainable

The completed building provides flexible, open-floorplate space tailored to the needs of universities and colleges, as well as business and industry partners that may look to co-locate with a university to access the talent of the future and provide facilities for research and industry innovation.

Both Access Creative College and Confetti Institute of Creative Technologies have a large welcome space on the ground floor of the building, with full-height glazing and their own entrances onto Commercial Road that create a highly-visible public “’shopfront’ that encourages public interaction.

And bespoke fitouts for each occupier have been completed as part of the refurbishment works, with specialist facilities including recording studios prepared for the start of the academic year.

To the rear of The Amp, the former Met Works building, a warehouse extension built in the 2000s, has been converted into an auditorium space for Confetti Institute of Creative Technologies.

This will allow the Institute to host live music, comedy, spoken word, esports, screenings, and more.

Access Creative College will operate a music venue within its space, providing opportunities for students within the college to use their skills within a live environment.

As part of the works, the sustainability and energy performance of the building has been substantially upgraded, with an all-electric heating and cooling system that ensures no fossil fuels are burned on site.

All new glazing and upgraded energy performance means the refurbished building is fully compliant with the requirements of Part L and is rated BREEAM ‘Excellent’ with WiredScore Platinum and an EPC ‘B’ rating.

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