As a result of an extensive search of more than 20 downtown properties, Pillar Nonprofit Network is excited to announce its purchase of an ideal home for London’s first Social Innovation Shared Space. Effective September 15, Pillar will be proud owner of the Garvey Building located at 201 King Street, which currently serves as the Corporate Head Office for GoodLife FITNESS.
The decision to purchase this historically-significant building comes as a result of an exhaustive research process undertaken by Pillar, Emerging Leaders, London Arts Council and London Heritage Council over the past 18 months. The process included a feasibility study and business plan funded by the London Community Foundation, as well as considerable community consultation, business modeling, real estate reviews, proof of concept, tenant commitments and financing.
“Social innovation is about creating new models and approaches to our most persistent challenges in London and generating new ideas to move our community forward,” says Michelle Baldwin, Pillar Executive Director. “By bringing together nonprofits, social enterprises, social purpose businesses and entrepreneurs, we will achieve positive change for London.”
Responding to current economic, environmental, social and cultural challenges facing London, the community consultation involved design jams, a bus tour to Toronto to see successful shared space operations, and a pre-application survey, which illuminated the ideal look, feel and location for a shared space to contribute to the vibrancy and revitalization of London and its downtown district.
“By investing in the heart of downtown, Pillar will help to support London’s renewed economic prosperity and serve as a catalyst to enhanced cross-sector collaboration – turning social challenges into opportunities to enhance London’s quality of life,” says Pillar Board Chair David Billson.
London is clearly moving with the times, as this initiative is consistent with global trends. During 2012, 1,320 innovation hubs were established globally – up 88% from 2011! The London Social Innovation Shared Space is expected to open in spring 2016. For more information visit www.sisslondon.ca