AN UNUSED part of Poole’s Dolphin Centre is to be turned into a co-working space after “substantial” investment.

The co-working business Foundry is working with centre owner Legal and General on the venture, which will open in November.

The partners also say they will “celebrate the 1960s architecture” of the building by exposing original features. 

The Foundry will be in Brownsea House, which is on the first and second floors at the bus station end of the centre and has not been in public use.

Brownsea House was described by planning consultants from Savills as a “derelict and under-utilised unit” when the owners successfully applied earlier this year to carry out alterations and instal signage.

Greg Westover, fund head of retail and leisure at Legal & General, said: “As we recover from the challenges of the past few years, it is evident that the entrepreneurial spirit of the Poole business community is very much alive and thriving. A substantial investment into the evolution of the Dolphin Centre, Foundry is our response to the post-pandemic demand for a new hybrid working model.

“This unique environment provides an exciting space to do business; ideal for those who don’t want to commute.”

The Foundry will offer space for everyone from individuals to start-ups with global aspirations, with space rented by the day, week or month, and flexible working options for businesses of all sizes.

The development will seek to “celebrate” the architecture of the building by exposing original design features and merging them with new elements.

Adam Walker, co-founder of Foundry, said: “Using the building’s mid-century architecture as an influence, we aim to create inspiring office suites and collaborative communal areas to inject the fun back into home working.

“It is our mission to empower the local business community by giving them the space at Foundry to think differently and to upscale growth.”

The workspace will have a concierge-style lobby and members will have use of a workspace lounge, meeting and bar areas.

Mr Walker added: “If you are fighting with working from home fatigue and the stagnation of a solitary desk, consider our carefully curated work environment, where you have the opportunity and freedom to make fruitful connections.”

Legal and General Investment Management Real Assets is to launch a pilot Foundry at Eastbourne’s Beacon Shopping Centre this summer, with more than 10 locations planned in the next three years.

The Foundry idea is part of a wider scheme launched by Legal and General’s head of retail and “futuring”, Denz Ibrahim, in 2020.

The strategy includes the Kingland shopping area of 10 independent businesses just outside the Dolphin Centre; a community events hub called Gather; an NHS outpatient clinic; and an adult skills and learning centre which is due to open later this year.

The property owner says customer experience will drive the remodelling and “future proofing” of its shopping centres.