A firm offering 'co-living' accommodation aimed at young professionals has postponed the launch of The Italian Building at Dockhead and is working with Guy's and St Thomas' to make rooms available for NHS workers during the COVID-19 crisis.
Mason & Fifth converted The Italian Building at Dockhead from office space to residential using permitted development rights that avoid the need to seek planning permission and to comply with the usual minimum space standards for living accommodation.
The location is a few yards outside the area designated in planning policy as London's 'central activities zone' (CAZ) where such a conversion would not be automatically lawful.
The Financial Times' Lucy Watson sampled a night at The Italian Building in what the paper dubbed a 'millennial hobbit home'.
Mason & Fifth intends to charge £1,650 for a studio room with access to communal amenities and activities including a "1:1 fitness induction", "fortnightly 'rant and reflect' talking circle with a professional therapist" and a "curated calendar of events, workshops and house parties".
The team includes a 'head of strength', 'head of feelings', 'head of nourishment' and 'head of movement'.
In an email sent to potential residents this week, Mason & Fifth said it was postponing the launch of its residential community till July: "Our approach to living well is centred around personal contact, connection and collaboration so unfortunately it would be impossible to make it work in the new world we are all experiencing. Obviously, we're very sad about this but it is the right thing to do for everyone."
The company added: "As our house will remain empty until July, we're working with our local NHS hospital – Guys' & St Thomas' – to provide beds for the heroes who are on the frontline; helping to reduce their commute times and increase their comfort levels during this unprecedented time."
The Italian Building was originally a Jacob's biscuit factory.
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