Digital agency boss reveals plans for co-working hub after snapping up HQ
Leicester-based digital marketing agency Unity has bought the four-storey building it has previously been renting.
Managing director, Pete Frost, said the decision to buy was driven by the previous owner and landlord’s decision to sell up.
He added: “Basically there was another offer on the table which would have effectively meant a period of uncertainty for Unity. I worked out that, if we did end up needing to move, conservatively that would cost my business over £20,000 in packing and removal costs, new leases and rental down payments, and setting up our new office space to suit our business and how we work. All that investment for, essentially, nothing.”
Unity had been renting its office on the third floor of an old mill located at the end of Millstone Lane, Leicester for the last two years.
Frost added: “The building is Victorian and is absolutely stunning with beautiful exposed brickwork and big windows letting in a lot of light. As a creative digital agency the whole team at Unity love the space we work in and really didn’t want to leave it so I spoke to the owner and expressed interest in buying the place. After a lot of negotiating, hard graft and saving we agreed a price to purchase the entire building thus securing our future as an agency giving both the Unity team and our clients a permanent home.
“Then COVID-19 and lockdown struck. Fortunately, as a business we were in a position to be able to complete the deal and, inadvertently, buying the whole building has given my business an additional revenue stream as I have three additional office spaces available to rent.”
The fourth floor space has already been snapped up by another local business and Frost says he’s looking to turn one of the remaining two spaces into flexible working spaces for other creatives to use as and when they need to.
He said: “With the anticipated rise in home working I know from conversations I’ve had with business colleagues and friends that sometimes there’s just a need to get out of the home and go and work in a relaxed yet professional space.
“My next ambition is to turn part of our building into a co-working hub offering flexible, safe, creative space for those who want to use it on either an ad hoc or more permanent basis.
“Access controls will enable people to come and go as they want, whatever the hour and we have free onsite parking here too.
“I just want to share this beautiful characterful building with others.”
Frost said that Unity had invested over £120,000 into the purchase of the property and was supported in putting the deal together by Darren Willoughby from 2XL Commercial Finance. Further additional investment will be going into the creation of the co-working space.
“I’m by no means a property mogul,” said Frost. “This is the first commercial property I’ve ever bought and going through the process was hard enough but throw COVID-19 into the mix and it added a whole new unknown element.
“That all said I founded and have run Unity successfully for the past seven years and now employ a team of designers, developers, social media, content and Google marketeers who support small to medium sized companies and help them to increase the leads they generate through the web. I thought if I can do that I can do this property purchase and I do passionately believe in investing in Local Leicester and in keeping commerce in this part of the city.
“This investment is significant for us but is actually a part of Unity’s business development and in further developing an environment where we can invest in our future and give us the stability we want in order to keep growing as a business.”