New Preston Barracks 'innovation hub' will include 3D printers and podcasting rooms

Plus X co-working space at Preston Barracks
Plus X co-working space at Preston Barracks

A new business centre on Lewes Road is set to include high-tech equipment and promote positive mental health through meditation and aromatherapy.

The workspace, called Plus X Brighton, will be set over seven floors and will accommodate more than 550 people, with hot desks, studios, meeting rooms, event space and high-tech areas such as prototyping studios for product processing and testing.

Paul Rostas, Katie Nurcombe, Debra Humphris, Nick Hibberd and Richard Upton at Preston Barracks Plus X topping out ceremony

Paul Rostas, Katie Nurcombe, Debra Humphris, Nick Hibberd and Richard Upton at Preston Barracks Plus X topping out ceremony

There will also be soundproofed podcast rooms and 3D printers available to use and an outdoor terrace to help members 'develop ideas', and meditation and yoga classes, with aromatherapy-infused rooms to help 'drive human success through positive physical and mental health'.

Developer of the Preston Barracks site U+I, has been working with Plus X hubs, which has an existing site at the Central Research Laboratory, London.

On Tuesday (July 9), developers celebrated with a 'topping out' ceremony as its new business centre at Preston Barracks reached its full height ahead of opening in January 2020.

The idea behind Plus X is to blend flexible work spaces with 'a wealth of facilities and support'. These include media studios, prototype workshops and product labs, integrating innovation programmes, start-up accelerators and access to Plus X business growth services from marketing to team talent experts.

Plus X roof terrace Preston Barracks

Plus X roof terrace Preston Barracks

Paul Rostas, Plus X Co-CEO, said: “We are excited to mark this important milestone in the construction of Plus X Brighton. Our first innovation hub will play a vital role in enabling entrepreneurs, established business, education partners and communities to thrive and prosper through a unique blend of inspiring space, world class facilities and curated collaboration.”

Richard Upton, chief development officer at U+I, said: “Innovation is an integral part of our business. We exist to unlock potential and drive growth into mixed-use regeneration by breathing new life into neglected or underestimated places.

"This concept delivers substantial wash over of value to our wider regeneration activity and we believe it is the first of its kind in our industry.

"Every Plus X building will embrace beautiful architecture, inspirational interiors and deliver substantial economic growth.”

There is also a green element to the scheme, with solar roof panels, a zero to landfill policy, green electricity and regional suppliers including milk delivered from local farms and Direct Trade coffee from Red Roaster.

Olga Hopton, managing director for Plus X Brighton, said: “I am looking forward to building Plus X Brighton into a place that maximises both purpose and productivity, whilst integrating world leading facilities, services and a pioneering attitude to help our members collaborate and thrive, we are committed to delivering a positive impact through connecting with local business and community.”

Jonathan Sharrock, chief executive at Coast to Capital, said: “Greater Brighton is one of the fastest-growing city regions in the UK, rated in the top five for jobs growth in the past five years and one of the best places to start a new business. Home to the University of Brighton, the city has an entrepreneurial and innovative edge which has led to the emergence of a world-renowned creative and digital tech cluster.

“The Preston Barracks project will transform Lewes road into a new, state of the art facility which will enhance the offer for local students and support business growth. We are delighted that our £7.7 million LGF investment has helped to get the project off the ground and the topping out ceremony of the innovation hub Plus X is a key milestone in the development. We are excited to see future developments as they arise.”