Work has begun on a new development in East India Dock aimed at stemming the tide of young companies leaving London.

Republic will transform the urban campus, which was built by Swedish architect Sten Samuelson in 1993 and is home to Tower Hamlets Council , into a work and leisure hub designed to appeal to the next generation of creative and tech business.

Specialist UK office development and investment company Trilogy Property and LaSalle Investment Management , the leading real estate investment manager, said the 600,000 sq ft development will offer “truly affordable” workplaces, with a focus on creativity, connectivity and affordability.

The masterplan has been designed by award-winning architect Studio RHE and will be completed in phases over the next five years.

Work is already underway on the initial phase of the project, a 10,000 sq ft co-working space for start-ups and small businesses in Anchorage House, with a roof top bar overlooking east London. Capstan House will be next to be developed.

The development is expected to have rents of less than £35 a sq ft, which bosses say is half the cost of Shoreditch and a third of the West End.

The area is already set to welcome cultural institutions such as the English National Ballet to London City Island and Olympicopolis to Stratford.

In addition to attracting new tenants and innovators to the area, Trilogy Property is seeking to make local connections with the area’s wealth of local community and cultural organisations.

Republic at East India is designed to appeal to the next generation of creative and tech business

Managing director Robert Wolstenholme said: “We aim to create a place which will attract entrepreneurs and businesses of all sizes, creating new jobs for the existing and future residents of East London - and Tower Hamlets in particular.

“Jobs not only for office workers, but people in the service sector including chefs, baristas, waiting staff, retailers, IT professionals, in fact a great diversity of roles that will support the vibrant community we want to create in a part of London fast becoming a new cultural and digital hub.

“East London has a rich seam of talent and we’re looking forward to engaging with local arts and community organisations.”

A street food market curated by Epicurean Events has also been launched and a giant art wall by designer Tom Hingston wraps the side of the building.

Trilogy Property and LaSalle Investment Management are supporting local art gallery Chisenhale with a residency for Poplar-based contemporary artist Yuri Pattison.

A marketing suite and temporary event and gallery space are set to launch on site in June.

Going forward, extensive landscaping will replace the streets of the original 1990s development, with water features, colonnades and aromatic plants - chosen to absorb pollution and as a nod to the area’s spice trading history. And spaces will be redesigned for independent retail and food offers.

Allsop and CBRE have been appointed office agents and CF Commercial and CBRE as retail agents for the scheme.

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