Battersea Power Station set to fire up London retail market

Generations of Londoners have known Battersea Power Station as a landmark that looms on the horizon – or even adorns Pink Floyd album covers – but the structure, which has lain dormant since the 1980s, is getting a new lease of life.

The development is being managed by the UK-based Battersea Power Station Development Company, though it is owned by a consortium of Malaysian investors.

A mix of homes, retail and leisure facilities have already helped to establish the 42 acre site as a residential neighbourhood. Now, more than 100 stores, restaurants and cafes are set to open in the Grade II listed main structures, along with an events space with a capacity of 2,000 people, and a chimney lift, that will offer panoramic views of London's skyline. A new London Underground station and Thames Clippers pier will ensure easy access to the site.

The building has an interesting design pedigree. It was built in two stages between 1929-35, and 1937-55, with the second stage being delayed by the Second World War. Architects J Theo Halliday and Giles Gilbert Scott – famous for the UK's popular red telephone boxes – designed the building, which was noted for its art deco interior and fittings.

The Power Station hasn't produced power since 1983, having been declared a heritage site in 1980. Throughout the 1980s and 1990s a variety of plans for the site were mooted, including one that would see it developed as a theme park, or a retail, leisure and housing complex, a biomass generator, an urban park with an option for later housing development, a stadium for Chelsea FC, or an incubator site for the British film industry.

The final plan saw WilkinsonEyre appointed as the architect to develop the building, creating the centrepiece to a wider redevelopment and a gateway to the extension of the Northern Line.

Office space will house tenants including Apple, which will locate its new London campus to the site, and there will be more than 250 apartments. The site will be open to the public in 2021, with new transport links making it not just a convenient place to live but a new and attractive place in which Londoners can go shopping. In total the development will provide 325,160 sq m (3.5m million sq ft) of commercial space.

Retailers have been quick to see the appeal of Battersea Power Station as a location, in part due to the wealthy demographic which will be able to live at the site. Hugo Boss, Uniqlo, Jo Malone London, MAC Cosmetics, Space NK, Watches of Switzerland, Finlay& Co, and Royal Selangor will be among those opening stores, while Archlight Cinema plans to open its second branch. Boxer and World Heavyweight Champion Anthony Joshua will be opening a branch of BXR, his boutique boxing gym. Around 70% of commercial space at the development has now been let.

“This iconic London landmark provides the perfect backdrop for the Jo Malone London brand. Heritage and culture are at the core of the Battersea redevelopment, aligning itself perfectly with the Jo Malone London philosophy,” says Jo Malone London vice president Melissa Mullen. “We look forward to welcoming consumers to experience the World of Jo Malone London; discovering the brand, engaging the senses and finding their signature scent through our bespoke services.”

Dane Butler of UK eyewear brand Finlay & co, describes how its new store will take inspiration from the landmark's heritage: “It is such an iconic landmark and so it's great that it's finally being re-developed into a space to be enjoyed by so many, and even more exciting that Finlay will be opening a store inside one of the beautiful industrial turbine halls,” says Butler. “We're inspired by great design and engineering so it's an honour to be opening a store in a location with so much history and in a building that many consider to be one of the most iconic in London."

Battersea Power Station Development Company CEO Simon Murphy, added: “We are delighted to be partnering with these exciting brands which set the tone for our retail and leisure offering inside the Power Station. On behalf of our Malaysian shareholders we are delivering a destination for our local community as well as London and far beyond. We enter 2020 with a very strong pipeline of retail and leisure brands intending to make the Power Station their home, which we will announce over the course of the year as we begin counting down the days to the opening of this historic landmark in 2021.”

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