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Company Spotlight: Ashdown Phillips & Partners

Published on 7 June 2023

As the friendly face of the Bee House, the ‘beekeepers’ overseeing the smooth running of the space are the property management team at Ashdown Phillips & Partners. We caught up with the team behind the operation, to learn more about what makes it a hive of activity and a brilliantly buzzy place to work.

The busy beekeepers

Set up 19 years ago, Ashdown Phillips is a specialist commercial property company with a diverse management portfolio across the UK. With a people-centric ethos at its core, the company provides a best-in-class asset management and advisory service to clients and occupiers alike. Seeking to innovate in a rapidly evolving market, the team also works closely with clients to deliver brilliant basics whilst looking to optimise net operating income and capital value.

At Milton Park, the Ashdown Phillips team runs the two serviced office buildings – the Innovation Centre and the Bee House – which offer office space on flexible terms, and much more. Here, the customer-facing team delivers a true turnkey approach; whether that’s managing a client’s journey from viewing the space to moving in, all the way through to servicing and helping them to scale their business needs.

A hive of activity

The Bee House is the latest Milton Park building to be under Ashdown Phillips’ management, which opened in 2022 following a renovation to become Oxfordshire’s largest co-working space and the effective social hub of Milton Park’s vibrant community.

The 53,000 sq ft building features state-of-the-art co-working spaces, meeting rooms, soundproofed phone booths, conference facilities and flexible offices.

The transformation unlocked the potential of a dated asset – formerly home to long-running occupier RM Education – to create a vibrant mix of spaces for occupiers, visitors and locals to enjoy. Now complete, it provides a launchpad for a diverse range of SMEs and freelancers – from creative agencies, technology startups and spinouts – with the Hive Café open to all.

Buzzing successes

Having just celebrated its first anniversary since opening on World Bee Day last year, Ashdown Phillips has enjoyed a range of successes at the Bee House since May 2022.

This includes a recent shortlist nomination for Insider Media’s Workplace Fit-out of the Year category at the 2023 South East Property Awards as well its Best Commercial Development win at the 2022 OxPropFest Awards.

One of the most memorable moments highlighted by Ashdown Phillips was the first week of moving into the building with the brand-new team. The shared experience of building the Bee House buzz, from moving in new occupiers to setting up its operation systems, has created a bond like no other.

Nikki Gibson, Director at Ashdown Phillips and Head of Flexible Workspaces – recently shortlisted for Young Property Personality of the Year at the 2023 Property Awards for her work on bringing the Bee House to life – explains why it’s the perfect space for companies to set up their colony:

“As ever-resourceful creatures, there are certainly analogies to be drawn between where bees locate their hives and companies that establish themselves at Milton Park. We consider the Bee House as a launchpad, particularly for smaller companies, perfectly located within the Park’s incubator model.

“These companies and individuals benefit hugely from the surrounding environment, working collaboratively with some incredibly exciting companies across Milton Park. The proximity to talent makes the Bee House a really compelling place to set up, nurture and grow.”

“The Bee House is currently more than half full, with 373 worker bees, along with many more customers using the Hive Café and our meeting room facilities. Through our diverse calendar of events hosted at the Bee House – whether this be networking breakfasts, local food trader visits or creative workshops – we regularly welcome the breadth of Milton Park’s companies through our doors, meaning our office occupiers and Honeycomb members are never too far away from the buzz.”

When asked what their favourite aspects of the Bee House are, here’s what the team had to say…

Therasa Willis, Front of House, said: “The funky, interesting and inviting atmosphere makes the space an inspiring place to collaborate and crack on with work. The ground floor has unique meeting rooms with personality, a professional and comfortable breakout lounge and finally, the wonderful Hive Café.”

Lorna Wright, Flexible Workspace Manager, said: “For me, it was amazing to watch Sophie Long – the artist behind the graffiti bees in the foyer – create such wonderful pieces of art, which really adds to the overall theme and feel of the building.”

Jody Jordan, Operations Assistant, said: “I love the view from the reception desk of the spacious atrium – filled with greenery and swings. They create a fun and exciting place to work, that brings the outside in.”

Nikki Gibson, Head of Flexible Workspaces, said: “I adore light wells which have been punched through from the ceiling and down through multiple floors. They flood our kitchenettes and breakout spaces with natural light and create beautiful focal points for occupiers to gather and collaborate in these spaces.”

If you would like to learn more about the Bee House, please visit:

For more information on Ashdown Phillips, please visit: 

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