A spruce up for the Battersea Business Centre on Lavender Hill

A lot of neighbours don’t really know what’s behind the blue gate at 99 Lavender Hill – but it’s a source for quite a sizeable amount of local employment, housing lots of local small independent businesses in what was once an envelope and wallpaper factory. It particularly stands out for the good share of creative industries – who are attracted by the generally reasonable rents, and above all that this is ‘working’ office space where you can actually build and make things, without panicking that they’re going to accidentally make a mess of some super-smart premises and cost themselves a fortune.

There are some offices in the site pre-equipped for desk-based businesses, but a lot of of the site is dedicated to workshops and light industrial offices with tough painted concrete or wood floors and white brick walls. So if you want to set up a pottery workshop, an artists’ studio, or a specialist catering firm, you can configure it the way you want it – safe in the knowledge that at the end of the lease it’ll be easy to get it back to the initial condition.

But even a business centre that’s trying not to be too showy and remain focussed on practical businesses needs to keep up with the times, and the rather tatty frontage of the Battersea Business Centre on Lavender Hill wasn’t really doing justice to the place. Mucky white paint, blocked gutters that dripped on to the pavement seating below, and crumbling windows gave an air of general decay. That’s set to change as it has a proper repaint and clean-up, with new windows and roofing, as part of a somewhat overdue refresh and rebranding of the whole site. The most visible change is that the buildings along the frontage have changed from mucky white, to a deep grey-blue that maybe coincidentally matches the branding used by Unit Management, who run this as part of a portfolio of 17 similar centres scattered around south west London.

The work has also seen several of the buildings on the site completely re-roofed, and new windows and insulation installed. The signage is being tidied up right along the building to make the shopfronts more consistent with each other. We understand the name of the centre may also change, to be called the Business Village. This investment isn’t quite on the scale that had at some stages been envisaged – we previously reported on plans to build a new building that would have provided an entrance reception with offices above; and at one stage there were also plans to create serviced accommodation on site. However the the improvements to the existing site will be welcome to the traders along this stretch of Lavender Hill, many of whose premises are also part of the centre. These include the still-not-open China Garden takeaway, pictured, which has looked for a few weeks as though it was about to start trading. As scaffolding comes down and we start to see the new look for the Business Centre, it’s good to see the owners investing to keep the centre attractive to tenants, without making it so smart that it loses its core purpose of providing sensibly-priced and practical accommodation to local businesses. And if you are looking for an office or workshop space – details of availability are here.

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