Pop Brixton today (19 August) published its first annual accounts. They had been promised for earlier this year.
The accounts show that from 18 November 2014 to 31 January this year the company – which is owned jointly by Carl Turner Architects and a property company, The Collective – made an operating profit before depreciation of just under £75,000.
The accounts have not been audited.
After allowing for the £1.5m cost of building the collection of former shipping containers to be written off (depreciated) over the four years to the planned end of the project in October 2018, the project made a loss of £266,709 in its first year of trading.
In a post on its blog, Pop Brixton predicts it will break even by the summer of 2018. Any profit will be split between the owners and Lambeth council, which provided the land for the project.
Pop Brixton sought to add to its rent income by a sponsored event, organised jointly with the council, which saw sportswear manufacturer Adidas “take over” the site.
Some £16,000 of the £95,000 this raised was used to fund Reprezent Radio, based at Pop Brixton, which also got £9,000 for the council.
Pop Brixton has five full-time employees, who were paid a total of £110,340 during the period of the accounts.
The cost of building Pop Brixton was met by a personal investment of £100,000 by architect Carl Turner – whose firm was paid £45,000 for designing and managing construction of the site – and investment from The Collective, which provided a further £1,050,000 to fund construction.
This investment was on a loan basis. The loans, plus 10% interest a year, will be repaid from the project’s income. Carl Turner retains 70% ownership of Pop Brixton, with The Collective owning 30%.
Carl Turner is one of Pop Brixton’s two directors. The other is James Leay, appointed in April this year. He is also managing director of Make Shift, “A team of entrepreneurs, architects and designers who transform underused space, into amazing places that inspire community, creativity and enterprise”.
Other directors of Make Shift are Carl Turner and The Collective.
Make Shift says that following Pop Brixton’s success, the company is “preparing to launch several new projects, based on the same principles”.
These include Peckham Levels, a scheme that will transform Peckham’s town centre car park into a ”creative community for local people, artists and entrepreneurs”.
Leay said that the first year of Pop Brixton “was an amazing learning experience. We are very proud of what we, and our member businesses, achieved in this time.
“We’ve shown how a profitable business model can be used to make a difference in the local community, but we’ve also learnt about the challenges of making projects like this work with such short timeframes.
“We’re now taking some new approaches to share risk and reward with our members and create additional income, and we’re looking forward to the next few years here.”
More on Pop Brixton.