LONDON — After decades of neglect and a series of false starts from various companies, Battersea Power Station is getting a new lease on life under its latest owners, a consortium of Malaysian investors who are fast creating a residential, commercial and retail hub in and around the historic brick complex on the Thames.
With much of the residential part complete and some restaurants already open, the project’s principals are now looking to fill the power station itself, an Art Deco gem, one of London’s best-known architectural landmarks and the largest single-brick building in Europe.
With its two vast turbine halls — one in Deco style, the other from the Fifties — the power station is the centerpiece of a 9 billion-pound mixed-use development that will span 42 acres, have its own London Underground station and see an estimated 25,000 people living and working on the site when it’s completed in 2020. The power station site is located across the river from Pimlico, Belgravia and Chelsea and is a 20-minute walk from Sloane Square.
Principals say that, when completed, the Battersea Power Station complex will be one of the largest retail destinations in central London and will contribute 20 billion pounds to the U.K. economy. It will also be a boon for those neighborhoods immediately south of the river, which until now, have had no upscale shopping complexes, fashion or luxury shopping hubs.
Apple has pre-leased 500,000 square feet of office space, with plans to create a campus inside the station in 2021.
More than 250 retail spaces, a mix of retail and food and beverage, are planned for the entire site, with just over 100 shops and restaurants set to open across the station’s two turbine halls, over three floors.
Sam Cotton, retail leasing director at Battersea Power Station Development Company, said his team is focused on creating a mix of established and emerging, affordable luxury brands across fashion and beauty stocking men’s, women’s and children’s products.
He said the play will be about diversity — and experiences — and that no two units will be identical. “There will be no anchoring, no clustering and we’ll also be offering units that are under 2,000 square feet,” he said just before a hard-hat walk-through of the building site.
The team is also encouraging brands to propose spaces with a twist, in the form of customizable products or new experiences, and added that the power station also wants to attract start-up brands from across Britain and internationally.
“We are hand-picking every single retailer and we are scouring the globe. We’re not only looking for the best retailers, we’re also looking at how we can provide a platform for a wider evolution of retail,” Cotton said, adding there has been much interest already from South Korean and Japanese fashion and beauty brands.
There are 40 restaurants and cafés planned within the station as well as a 30,000-square-foot street food market with four additional restaurants to open outside the food hall. The power station will also include cinemas, conference spaces, and a leisure and entertainment zone, which will all be centered around a single grand atrium.