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John Jones sale means ‘29 jobs lost’ in Finsbury Park

PUBLISHED: 12:48 29 January 2019 | UPDATED: 12:48 29 January 2019

John Jones' The Arts Building, in Morris Place. Picture: Polly Hancock

John Jones' The Arts Building, in Morris Place. Picture: Polly Hancock

Archant

The sale of a Finsbury Park framing business will cost 29 workers their jobs, the Gazette understands.

John Jones' The Arts Building. Picture: Polly HancockJohn Jones' The Arts Building. Picture: Polly Hancock

John Jones has sold its 50,000 sq foot warehouse-style headquarters in Morris Place to property developer U+I, which operates under the slogan “regeneration rethought”, for an undisclosed fee.

It’s rumoured the family-owned firm, which has framed for Francis Bacon and leading galleries, will cease trading in mid-February. Islington Council has offered support to employees being made redundant.

Hak Huseyin, co-vice-chair of Islington Chamber of Commerce, told the Gazette: “It’s sad because there was an industry going on there and now people are losing their jobs.

“And they are a skilled workforce with a specialised field, so it isn’t going to be easy getting more jobs.

The Arts Building, which houses John Jones, in Morris Place, Finsbury Park. Picture: Polly HancockThe Arts Building, which houses John Jones, in Morris Place, Finsbury Park. Picture: Polly Hancock

“I suppose the only saving grace is that it’s going to office space because at the moment it’s pretty thin on [the ground] in the borough.”

The six-storey warehouse building also includes units for lease, one of has been empty since Walnut Cafe closed earlier this year due to the “high rates”.

The building is home to a number of other businesses. One, Push PR, has been there for three years.

Co-owner Greg Hart is set to meet representatives from U+I tomorrow (Wed) to discuss the future.

He told the Gazette he hoped development around the Finsbury Park town centre would be a “catalyst for improvement in the area”, which he says is mired by wider problems.

“We’re trying to attract high-end clients into the office but increasingly we are finding they are struggling to come into the area because of the way it looks.

“It’s difficult to attract people to the area because they find it intimidating walking to and from work.

“In Morris Place I have to step over a lot of rubbish [and] people use that area as a toilet.”

He added: “Two weeks ago I noticed two women preparing their drugs behind the car wash area, which I walk past every day.

“And I informed two British Transport Police that this was happening, and they said: ‘It’s not our department. [...]

“All of the people that work for us, except for myself, are women and they find it quite intimidating walking through that corridor [under the bridge in Stroud Green Road].”

Mr Hart and his co-owner Emma Hart have been critical of Jeremy Corbyn and Islington Council’s handling of street homelessness in Finsbury Park.

A tweet sent by Ms Hart captioned the image of a sleeping homeless person under the bridge with the all-caps imperative: “THIS NEEDS TO BE DEALT WITH.”

Matthew Weiner, chief exec of U+I, said: “We are pleased to have acquired The Arts Building – a warehouse-style building, just 100 metres away from the proposed new entrance to Finsbury Park Underground station.

“Working and living in London is fast becoming more about affordability and convenience over postcode, particularly for location-independent businesses.

“We are more connected than ever, so it is imperative that the spaces we provide reflect our constantly evolving ways.

“With wider regeneration projects going on in the area, these characterful offices will create spaces to work [and] bring further life to the area.”

The Jones family has been approached for comment.

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