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People of Preston series: Rizwan Seth, Wrkspace

21 February 2024

In the coming weeks and months, we're going to be shining a light on the people that are helping to transform Preston City, and getting to know some of the faces and voices behind Preston's thriving business community.

Introducing.... Rizwan Seth from Wrkspace

Rizwan Seth is the founder and Managing Director of Wrkspace - a leading provider of bespoke office accommodation in the North West area. Rizwan owns and operates five iconic business centres in Preston since 2017 (and a further two in Bolton). Supporting more than 200 business clients to grow and thrive as part of the Wrkspace network, Rizwan is one of the most influential property investors in Preston City.

A devoted Prestonian, Rizwan has passion and ambitions in transforming the future of Preston's property scene, with the Wrkspace buildings already being busy hives of cross-sector business activity. The Wrkspace network keeps on growing too. An addition of the historic Amounderness House - the former police station and magistrates court - as a flexible co-working space in the city centre, comes under Wrkspace's portfolio next spring. Opening in 2025, this will be a key part of the £20m Harris Quarter Towns Fund Investment Programme.

Tell us about Wrkspace, and how it started as a Preston-based business.

After an almost 15-year career in accident management law, I decided to relocate this business to a new office space in Preston. This was the inception of the Wrkspace brand. With an initial desire to move this business into The Watermark whilst renting out the remaining office lets, I wanted to create inspiring luxury office spaces. This is where my passion for interior design and commercial property began.

From The Watermark, we wanted to create a working environment that did more than just house businesses - we wanted to nurture and encourage local businesses to evolve and expand with us, hand-in-hand. The iconic Old Docks House Business Centre was then launched following the success of The Watermark. This new centre brought a higher quality workplace solution, to the ever-increasing business market within the city.

Wrkspace followed with Derby House to the business centre portfolio. This centre is based in the heart of Winckley Square and has been transformed into a vibrant hub for more than 40 small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), in beautiful city centre parkland surroundings. No 3 Fulwood on Caxton Road - a renovation of an old NHS building - was the next centre to become part of the Wrkspace network, breathing life into the 20,000 square-foot venue. Further office network building renovations in neighbouring Bolton were added to the portfolio, meaning Wrkspace is quickly becoming one of the leading suppliers of commercial office and studio space in the northwest, with Preston firmly at the heart of our network. 

Wrkspace has expanded greatly since its inception in 2018, providing different office solutions in several locations. How do you see Wrkspace's future as a leading Preston business?

I see Wrkspace as a leading supplier of flexible office space in Preston and the Northwest.  We enjoy working closely with the city and borough councils, managing their workspaces which have been earmarked for their respective city centres from the Levelling Up funds. There are many existing buildings in Preston City which could be repurposed as vibrant hubs of business. The focus should be on these buildings instead of creating new structures, where Wrkspace could be on hand to help business accommodation throughout the city and surrounding areas.

Amounderness House renovation and regeneration begins shortly. What kind of flexible office space will be offered there?

Amounderness House will be a fantastic asset to Preston's City centre. When completed, the business centre will deliver 20k square feet of Grade A office space. This will consist of a mixture of office configurations, ranging from four workstations through to 25-workstation  solutions. The regeneration of this building will breathe new life into this historic building. Co-working will also be offered along with meeting and conferencing facilities. This will bring Preston a little closer to its 15-minute city ambition. The work aspect is under-delivered in the city and this offering aims to bridge that gap by providing city centre offices. The investment will complement the Animate project, along with the #HarrisYourPlace renovation, which should all be delivered by the middle of 2025. 

Preston Partnership has recently been revived, with a fresh boost of funding and a strong line-up of new members. How do you as a board member see upcoming partnerships contribute to more investment and growth for Preston City?

As a member of the Preston Partnership board,  I am deeply invested in the property scene. I would like to bring some perspective from a private property investor and help make quality workplace solutions available to all businesses within the city, no matter their what size they are.

I am looking to assist in harnessing the voice of business by listening, then understanding the challenges that stand in the way of Preston City investment. As someone from the private sector, I am trying to initially understand the constraints of the public sector with a view to helping it shape the investment policy.

Preston has a world-class university along with excellent rail and road infrastructure, along with a National Park on its doorstep. If the city wants to attract and retain large numbers of businesses, it has to offer them good quality office spaces within the city centre. That's a goal for the city to focus on.

I believe that Preston is moving in the right direction and investment confidence is slowly started to thaw after years of stalling projects. However, there is a lot of work to do. By creating synergy and collaboration between the private and public bodies, we can deliver the projects that are required to kickstart confidence in the city centre.

More business people of Preston

To read more people profiles in this series see business people of Preston.