Angels back Green Rooms: Arts Hotel to offer affordable rooms and urban regeneration



03 February 2016

Amid diminishing arts funding and the soaring costs of living, London is not the most accommodating city for cash-strapped aspiring artists. That is until now: social ‘art’repreneur Nick Hartwright is addressing these issues head on by creating London’s first arts-led social enterprise hotel, Green Rooms.

Occupying a striking Art-Deco property in Wood Green, work is already well underway transforming the former North Metropolitan Power and Electric Company into a stylish but affordable destination hotel. Green Rooms has successfully raised over £450k in funding from a mixture of CSA angel investors and the Greater London Authority, giving it the green light to open its doors in this May.

The idea behind the hotel is unique. Principally designed to offer affordable accommodation to artists visiting and working in the capital, Green Rooms will also play an integral part in the regeneration of the local community and offering training opportunities for local people.

Rates at the hotel start from just £18 per night and there are a number of accommodation options available – from dormitory beds through to double rooms and even long-stay apartments. Several areas have been set aside for communal work space, social areas for collaborative working and individual studios for artists to rent for longer periods.

The ground floor lobby at the hotel will feature a welcoming bar and exhibition space, as well as a restaurant that will run an innovative ‘incubator project’. Budding restaurateurs are able to apply for six-month rent-free residencies where they’ll receive expert advice to help take their burgeoning businesses to the next level. In addition, the hotel will host a diverse programme of regular events, exhibitions and workshops – all open to the public and free for Haringey residents.

Speaking to The Guardian earlier this month, Hartwright said: “It’s a very prominent building in Haringey: it’s not about bringing in some cool kids that come over from Berlin, then go straight to Dalston. Artists and comedians will contribute to a programme of events that are completely free for local people. We’re working very closely with Haringey council so it’ll be local people employed, and we’re going out with people into the community to do stuff, too. Everything we do, we make sure we engage with local groups.”

For Green Rooms Hartwright has worked closely with leading hotel entrepreneur Kurt Bredenbeck, the genius behind the hugely successful Hoxton Hotel. This is the latest venture in Hartwright’s growing portfolio, which includes Art Guard, STYX and The Mill Co. Project, a social enterprise that offers creatives affordable workspace by day and allows them to stage exhibitions and plays by night, and now operates over 100,000 square foot of workspace in London.

It was clear from the start that Green Rooms would stand a world apart from the capital’s many big chain and formulaic hotels. Bredenbeck commented, “In a corporate world filled with the bland, the boring, the monopolistic and the mundane, Green Rooms is the real thing – authentic, innovative, and grounded in the local community.”

Green Rooms is a prime example of business being used to solve a social issue and create lasting impact in an area, and it is the ingenuity of this project that attracted the attention of several angel investors, including two high-profile art patrons. Angel investor and entrepreneur Francesca Findlater commented, “I am delighted to be a part of the first arts-led social enterprise hotel in the UK and the energy that surrounds it – it is a positive and tangible way to support the arts with much-needed, affordable accommodation in London and it enables me to align investment decisions with my personal values. What’s more it shows that businesses can do both good and well at the same time”

There is so much to be excited about within this project, and we look forward to seeing Green Rooms, and the concept behind it, grow and flourish. Speaking on behalf of the ClearlySo team involved, CEO Rod Schwartz said, “Our angel investors simply loved this deal! It combines urban regeneration, training, arts & culture as well as employment in one magnificent project. Talk about impact!”

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