XCollective is Newcastle's latest co-working business space

Hub: Grant Long, Shay Riley-Lewis and Mark Casey (back) and Belinda Charlton, Juliana Lucas Martin and Sonia Powazuk. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers.
Hub: Grant Long, Shay Riley-Lewis and Mark Casey (back) and Belinda Charlton, Juliana Lucas Martin and Sonia Powazuk. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers.

XCOLLECTIVE is the latest co-working space to breathe life into Newcastle’s evolving city centre. 

 The hub is based on the upper level of 140 King Street, where Villa Clone traded before the iconic building was sold to investors in late 2015.

It is being driven by Newcastle business Long Legal, an accredited specialist in environmental law.

Its principle lawyer Grant Long took on the lease of site in January and moved quickly to reach out to professionals in related fields to help form Xcollective. 

He and colleague Belinda Charlton share office space with Mark Casey from Sorensen Design and Planning, town planner Shay Riley-Lewis (PEP Consulting), and interior designer Juliana Lucas Martin. 

“The idea is that anyone can walk in with an idea in mind for a development – concept only – and talk to Shay about town planning, us about legals and property law, Sorensen can do the design and get it built and Juliana to make the project look fabulous,” Mr Long said. 

Beyond their own speciality areas, the hub’s extensive network of contacts also allow it to recommend other businesses to perform related but more specialised services as part of any project. 

“We are the base blueprint and then depending on the client’s needs we build it up like a 3D model and add the pieces,” says Long Legal senior lawyer Ms Charlton.

She believes the trend towards business hubs is warranted as customers become more sophisticated.

“People do not want to run around to different places looking for different services,” she said.

Beyond her work for clients, Ms Lucas Martin is styling the hub, installing the works by the likes of Brett McMahon and John Morris with a view to creating a mini gallery that showcases local artists. 

Colliers’ Dane Crawford said he had had “a whole lot of different users” look at the 250-square-metre ground floor space of 140 King Street, once home to Pizza Hut.

“There is serious interest at the moment and we’ve had a few proposals including food and beverage, because of its former use it has a greasetrap on site,” he said.