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Carlyle Group to invests GBP150m in Uncommon launch

Global alternative investment manager The Carlyle Group has entered the London flexible office and co-working sector, having completed three initial acquisitions.

The first acquisition comprises an operating business and an 18,000 sq ft operational asset in Islington, which is to be rebranded as ‘Uncommon’.
Two further properties have also been acquired, a 25,000 sq ft office asset in Borough and a 26,000 sq ft office building in Fulham, which are to be developed into new facilities and will increase the Uncommon platform to circa 1300 desks in total. Carlyle is working with a joint venture partner, the Adir Group, on the management of Uncommon business and its facilities. Carlyle is making this investment on behalf of investment funds that it advises. 
These acquisitions represent the first phase of a strategy to expand the Uncommon flexible office and co-working platform over the next 18-24 months in locations across London with strong transport connections. Carlyle believes that the current change in working patterns and mind-set, as well as occupiers’ increased requirement for cost-effective space, with high levels of service and a focus on the connection between employee well-being and productivity will continue to drive demand for flexible, collaborative workplaces. 
Against this backdrop, Uncommon aims to capitalise on growing demand from both established companies and an increasing1 number of small businesses and start-ups in the capital. Businesses who need flexibility to expand and contract as the size of their operations change and value the working life flexibility of their employees provided by offering space in convenient locations. 
Uncommon's approach meets these requirements by offering something new – workspaces where every detail has been fine-tuned to improve productivity while supporting wellbeing. There are quiet spaces that encourage focus, greenery throughout the buildings to purify the air, and everything from the furniture to the music has been chosen to prime people for a successful day.
Peter Stoll, Managing Director at The Carlyle Group, says: “As an emerging sector, we see the market for new concept working environments continuing to strengthen. An increasing number of businesses favour the flexibility and collaborative nature that this type of space offers. This, coupled with our belief that London will continue be a global centre of business and innovation, gives us confidence in our strategy.
“Being both the owner of the property and owner-operator of the business sets us apart from the flexible office competition. Working with the excellent and highly entrepreneurial team at Adir Group allows us to provide a high quality and competitive product.”
Chris Davies, Director at The Adir Group, adds: "Over the last few years there has been a major shift in the office market. Managed office space is no longer the preserve of the unambitious, bland occupier. People demand interesting and versatile space that is flexible enough to adapt as they do. This is appealing to start ups and far larger businesses – our largest occupier currently has 226 employees. The economy is driven by SMEs so we will provide high quality space for our members.
“Uncommon goes so much further than any other flexible workspace. We want people to feel better about being at work, so we've applied the very latest thinking in sound design, aroma, ergonomics and the psychology of productivity. We don't believe anyone else in the sector has taken such a close look at wellbeing at work. This isn't just about the occasional yoga class or desk massage – this is a completely different way of looking after your members, and a real breath of fresh air in the industry. We are very excited to be working with the Carlyle Group to grow this platform over the coming years."

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