Creating community is vitally important to developer The Heaton Group, which specialises in repurposing dilapidated buildings to enhance town centres, bring neighbours together and restore local pride. This is why it has chosen to partner with market-leading resident engagement and property management software provider Spike Global, to create a personalised residents’ portal to help foster community spirit in its latest development, Bishopgate Gardens in the centre of Preston, Lancashire.
Spike Global has worked with The Heaton Group to create a white labelled version of its Spike Living portal that is unique to residents of the 130 apartments. The portal, which can be accessed through a smartphone app, is helping tenants connect with their neighbours, make new friends, join clubs, book communal amenities and even receive discounts on local services – as well as taking care of routine practicalities such as reporting faults or keeping track of payments.
John Heaton, Managing Director of The Heaton Group, comments: “From when we were first designing Bishopgate Gardens, it was imperative that we created a community and enhanced what is going on in the local area. Our resident portal is key to us doing this. As well as being functional and allowing residents to communicate with our concierge and maintenance team, it is encouraging residents to meet up and socialise either in the building or at local events. It’s like a modern day message board, but with more functionality.”
Bishopgate Gardens is a development on Ormskirk Road, close to Preston bus station, that has transformed two disused former Department of Work and Pensions office blocks into the town’s first amenity-focused residence, with roof gardens, community lounges and co-working space to encourage a more sociable way of living. Beneath the apartments is a retail space that The Heaton Group has transformed into ready-to-occupy shops for local independent entrepreneurs, including local coffee shop Brew + Bake, deli, hairdresser and barber, to help give the area an instant buzz.
Jeremy Heath-Smith, CEO of Spike Global, comments: “Bishopgate Gardens has been designed to create a sense of community spirit, and our Spike Living portal is an important part of that, offering more ways for residents to meet and get to know each other, as well as giving local businesses the chance to promote what they have to offer. We are delighted to be working with The Heaton Group to put modern technology to work on an age-old problem – how to make friends and feel at home when you move somewhere new.”
Bishopgate Gardens comprises 130, one, two and three-bedroom apartments and duplexes, all featuring high-specification kitchens and bathrooms, in the heart of Preston’s regenerating town centre. Over the past decade the area has received a £434 million investment to expand and improve the infrastructure for transport, create 20,000 new jobs and more than 17,000 new homes. The local economy is expected to grow by over £1 billion in the next 10 years, meaning it is bound to be a popular destination for young people looking for a first home, buy-to-let investors and those looking to move to a thriving area for work. With that in mind, Bishopgate Gardens, in conjunction with Spike Global, provides the technology to help them rapidly turn a house into a home.