A major new coworking space will open in St Ives at the start of 2023, transforming a heritage building overlooking the iconic harbour into one of the most inspiring shared workspaces in the whole of the UK.
Spread over four floors, Bayspace will offer a range of flexible membership options, from freelancers seeking an occasional hot desk, to SMEs looking for private office space from which to grow their business.
Just moments from St Ives’ bus and train stations, Bayspace also has bike and board storage – and indoor and outdoor showers – allowing for all manner of low carbon commutes on the Cornish coast.
The transformation of the Georgian building on Fernlea Terrace also features breakout areas, disabled access, a café, and meeting rooms bookable by the wider community; a programme of events – including workshops, training, and skills sessions – will ensure Bayspace becomes an asset for the whole town.
The restoration project has been led by architects Studio Skein and contractor Catling Construction.
The sensitive repurposing of this heritage building into a modern, collaborative, and progressive work hub, combined with its awe-inspiring vantage point overlooking St Ives Bay, makes this a landmark opening for the coworking concept, and for St Ives.
Steve Morrin, newly appointed Head of Bayspace, said: “With work nearing completion we’re almost set to welcome our first members, and will begin hosting meetings and events early in the new year. Our mission is to make a positive impact on the local community, supporting year-round jobs, sustainable growth, and nurturing collaboration. There’s a real buzz in the building already, and we can’t wait for our first members to arrive and begin work.”
The project has been nurtured into life by St Ives resident and experienced business consultant, Rowena Swallow, who helped form St Ives Workstation Community Interest Company and is now Director of Programme & Development – Bayspace is the CIC’s first project, with more planned to follow.
As co-author of St Ives Local Economy Plan and Board Member of the St Ives Town Deal, Rowena is passionate about the town’s sustainable future and mindful of the challenges brought about by the lack of business space, and an economy heavily reliant on tourism and hospitality.
Having identified a strong need for a work hub to allow local businesses to reach their full potential, the CIC was able to secure funding from the Coastal Communities Fund to purchase the building, which is now set to become a launchpad for pioneering start-ups and home to growing enterprises across a range of sectors – from renewables to charities, the marine sector and the creative industries.
Rowena explains: “St Ives has long been a magnet for creativity – a testbed for new ideas, be that in the field of culture, environment, sustainability, or food and drink. It’s an inspiring place, but right now that innovative, entrepreneurial spirit doesn’t have a home or room to grow. Our vision is for Bayspace to be that home, and for it to be the first of several linked projects here in West Cornwall.”
One of the first to register for membership at Bayspace was Lucas Lowe-Houghton, Director of Growth and Strategy at Tugdock Limited – the world’s first road-transportable floating dry dock product, which was developed in Cornwall.
Lucas said: “As a company with a global outlook founded in Cornwall, we’re really proud of our roots. However, we’ve always struggled to find the right space to operate from – we’ve been running our business from garden sheds and kitchen tables for years! Bayspace is the perfect solution for us; the excellent digital and physical infrastructure, and the supportive on-site team, means that we’ll be able to focus on our growth strategy.”
He added: “I’m really looking forward to bringing our international partners here for the first time, hosting a meeting looking out over St Ives Bay, and telling them about all the amazing things happening in the marine sector in Cornwall right now.”
Membership options start at £75 per month, and there are various discounts available for charities and local businesses. For more information, visit the Bayspace website.