PARIS — The Battersea Power Station is looking for retail tenants.
The massive project to redevelop the Thirties-era former power station and the surrounding Nine Elms district in south London will officially launch today with events worldwide, including a residential sales and commercial leasing exhibition at the Hôtel Le Bristol in Paris.
“The tour will build on the many expressions of interest already received from commercial operators and will offer an environment for them and other businesses looking for a U.K. opportunity to talk to us,” said Rob Tincknell, chief executive officer of Battersea Power Station Development Company (BPSDC).
“We will then work to select the best commercial operators for tenancy in order to generate the best possible choice for customers — whether they live or work at Battersea or are visiting us from other parts of the city, the U.K. or from overseas,” he added.
The company is hosting exhibitions in New York, Los Angeles, London, Paris, Milan, Tokyo, Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Singapore, Dubai, Kuala Lumpur and Doha.
A scale model of the ambitious proposal, with an estimated budget of 8 billion pounds, or $12.9 billion at current exchange, was set up in the gilded ballroom of the residence of Britain’s Ambassador to France, Sir Peter Ricketts, here for a cocktail reception on Wednesday evening to mark the launch.
A total of 3.5 million square feet of commercial space is available for leasing, the majority of it inside the power station, which has been out of commission for 31 years. The landmark has appeared on everything from the cover of Pink Floyd’s 1977 album “Animals” to the video game “Grand Theft Auto: London.”
The mixed-use scheme will also feature residential buildings by architects including Norman Foster and Frank Gehry. Sting and Trudie Styler have already snapped up one of the apartments.
A consortium of Malaysian property development and investment firms is financing the project. Real estate firm S P Setia owns 40 percent, multinational Sime Darby has a 40 percent stake and sovereign pension fund The Employees Provident holds the remaining 20 percent.
“It took someone very brave to take the site on. Lots of people have tried and failed,” noted Joanne Skilton, head of leasing at BPSDC. “I think what’s been amazing about working with the Malaysians is not only do they have great vision, but they have great credibility in their own country about delivering projects,” she added.
The urban quarter, spread out over 42 acres, will be built in seven phases. By 2025, it is projected to house up to 25,000 residents and workers, while attracting an estimated 40 million visitors per year.
“Shopping will play a huge part in determining the footfall and attractiveness of the venue and for this reason, we are keen to talk to businesses and brands that are interested in doing something a little different at Battersea,” said Tincknell.
“Through our discussions with retailers we will encourage them to offer an experiential, unique proposition that will enhance the Battersea experience for our customers,” he added.
Phase 1, due to open in 2016, includes 40 retail and food and beverage outlets. Inspired by London shopping districts with a village feel, this area is meant to resemble a Marylebone High Street. Food stores and restaurants will be set in a mix of refurbished railway arches and brand new units facing the Power Station and River Thames.
Phase 2 will see the opening of around 90 shops over three floors of the two Turbine Halls in the Power Station, whose four chimneys will be dismantled and recreated in the meantime. The space is set to open in 2019, at the same time as two new underground railway stations will be completed nearby.
“I think it will be a real mix. I don’t think it will be exclusively luxury, but everything we do is extraordinary. We don’t do ordinary, so what we really want to do is create something that’s very bespoke,” said Skilton, using the “We Don’t Do Ordinary” catchphrase that is being used to market the project.
This area will also include a projected 30,000-square-foot fashion hub.
“We’d like to work with new budding graduates that leave, say, the London College of Fashion, and support them in terms of helping them work together and produce garments,” Skilton explained.
“In terms of our vision, we would have a collective of graduates that would work in the fashion hub, and in the evening, they would then turn that into maybe a fashion show, and at the weekends they could do something like Rent-a-Rail, where everything they produce, they actually sell,” she added.
“Ultimately, what would be lovely is if someone could actually start their business there as an incubator and then one day have a shop at Battersea Power Station,” Skilton said.
A further 50 commercial units will become available on Phase 3. Due to open in 2020, it will be a high street designed by Foster + Partners and Gehry Partners linking the new underground railway extension to the rest of the development.
In addition, the project will feature office space and leisure facilities including a new 2,000-capacity event venue, two boutique hotels, an observation lift and viewing platform, cinemas, members’ clubs and health and fitness. The United States is also building a new embassy in the area, due to open in 2017.