Parkour group to move from home of seven years after lease is cancelled
- Credit: Pawel Gawronski/Parkour Generations
A parkour organisation is having to move out of its home in Trinity Buoy Wharf after its lease was cancelled.
Parkour Generations (PKG) has been based at Chainstore Gym since 2014 and had renewed its lease just last year.
So it came as a "shock" when it was told in April that its lease was to be cancelled and given to an undisclosed party, with October 31 to be its final day in the building.
Urban Space Management, the organisation which manages Chainstore, said Parkour Generations was given six months’ notice in spring earlier this year.
Dan Edwardes, founder and head of Parkour Generations London, said: “Pretty much as soon as the lockdowns ended we were then told that they were going to end the lease and give it to someone else.
“So it was a bit of a shock, a bit unexpected at the time, and obviously the response from our community and our team was exactly that, shock.
“I think 10 out of 12 months we were closed during that period, which was pretty tough for an enterprise like ourselves.
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“But we persevered with that because we were aware that as long as we survived and got through it, we could redo it on the other side, so we put a fair bit of resource into upgrading the facility while it was closed and providing for our members through online training and stuff like that.”
On why he thinks the lease was suddenly cancelled, Dan said: “The place has changed a lot, the surrounding area has changed a lot.
“There’s this huge development going on there. Goodluck Hope development, City Island; it’s changed massively.
"There’s a lot more money coming to the area, a different demographic, so I guess that factored in.
“But we don’t know the reasons beyond that.”
The impending move has caused particular disruption among Parkour Generations London's members.
Dave Koumi said: “PKG is like a family. The very origins of parkour had a supportive and inclusive community spirit and that’s very much alive and well at the Chainstore Gym today.
“We don’t as yet know where we’re moving to so everything is up in the air at this stage.”
A spokesperson from Urban Space Management said: “Last year’s lease extension included six months break for both landlord and the tenant, and Parkour Generations were given six months’ notice in spring earlier this year.
“Judging from our conversations with their founder, they are using this situation as an opportunity rather than a difficulty, and we hope they’ll be able to expand and grow in a new location soon.”
Dan founded Parkour Generations in 2006 after he returned to the UK from Japan, where had spent five years studying martial arts and lecturing at a university.
It operates in countries such as the US and South Korea as well as the UK, and provides a range of services, including teaching, creating parkour environments and spaces, and performance work for movies.
While it is yet to settle on a new location just yet, Dan said once word got out Parkour Generations was leaving Chainstore, it had started receiving alternative offers from groups around London.
Despite the initial surprise, Dan remains positive about securing an improved space before the end of the month.
“The lease being taken from us and given to someone else, there’s nothing we could do about that, but we can use this opportunity.
“Our mindset is pretty adaptive, so we don’t really dwell on things we can’t control. We just focus on the things we can control, and so we immediately went into the mode of looking for a new venue and how we could use it as an opportunity to expand and grow and explore new spaces and go from there.
“We think it will be a very, very positive step.”