One of London’s largest, most visionary and eagerly awaited new developments, Battersea Power Station is being brought back to life as one of the most exciting and innovative mixed use neighbourhoods in the world. Here, RLI sits down with Sam Cotton, Head of Retail Leasing at Battersea Power Station to learn more about this fascinating project.
Based upon a masterplan that was approved in 2011, the iconic Grade II* listed building and surrounding area of Battersea Power Station (BPS) is being reimagined as a place for locals, tourists and residents to enjoy a unique blend of restaurants, shops, parks and cultural spaces.
This 42-acre, eight phase regeneration will create hundreds of new shops, restaurants, offices, cultural venues, homes, a hotel and over 18 acres of public space, including a new six-acre park. The Power Station itself is set to become home to Apple’s new London campus, opening in 2021, and will become one of the capital’s top retail and leisure destinations.
“Circus West Village, the first phase of the redevelopment is already complete with over a thousand people now living on site, enjoying the thriving new community and the carefully curated selection of restaurants, bars and shops that are on their doorstep,” says Sam Cotton, Battersea Power Station’s Head of Retail Leasing. The project’s retail and leisure offer launched last year and to date has received a lot of interest from a wide range of brands from the UK and abroad, and at the end of last year the new event and attraction spaces that will be on offer inside the Power Station were announced.
“The most exciting one, in my opinion, being a glass elevator, otherwise known as the Chimney Lift, which will travel 109m to the top of the North West chimney, offering visitors amazing views of London’s skyline,” says Cotton. Situated in one of the best and most dynamic cities in the world, which already has an incredible retail offer and a diverse, creative and experimental population, BPS will breathe a new lease of life into South West London, delivering something completely new and setting the scene to, in time, become the home of experiential retail theatre in the capital.
“As consumers are either craving something incredibly exciting, or complete ease and convenience, BPS will bring these demands together, placing the consumer firmly at the heart of our retail and leisure strategy,” Cotton comments. Battersea has a unique advantage in standing out from the crowd due to the iconic nature of the building itself.
BPS is one of London’s most famous buildings and has been used in many film and music videos, and now that it has been sat empty for 35 years, the anticipation of what is inside is building. The project has seen a lot of interest from South Korean and Japanese brands, as well as those from the rest of Asia, the UK and the US. The scheme will be an exceptional platform for international brands and new concepts to enter London and it is the intention of the developer to really shape how the future of retail will look. In terms of the leisure offering, connecting the two turbine halls will be an 18,500sq ft food hall that will showcase the very best of London’s food scene, including restaurant startups, new concepts and international cuisines.
“AS CONSUMERS ARE EITHER CRAVING SOMETHING INCREDIBLY EXCITING, OR COMPLETE EASE AND CONVENIENCE, BPS WILL BRING THESE DEMANDS TOGETHER, PLACING THE CONSUMER FIRMLY AT THE HEART OF OUR RETAIL AND LEISURE STRATEGY”
Alongside the Chimney Lift there will be an events venue in the Boiler House that will be used for live music, launch and fashion shows and the Control Room, made famous by its appearances in a number of films including The King’s Speech. So from where have you drawn inspiration for this unique and innovative project? “I’ve travelled the world seeking inspiration from other successful retail destinations and working out what works and what does not. A key observation I have made is that both brands and consumers are seeking authenticity.
This exactly what the Power Station offers, being incredibly inspirational on its own with the art-deco architecture, sparser modernist interior and cultural heritage. It offers a story for both brands and consumers to play a part in,” explains Cotton. The project will offer brands something very different to other developments, a unique canvas like no other which isn’t seen every day. The scheme has no traditional ‘anchor’, instead the developers are taking a more innovative and eclectic approach to the mix and there is confidence that this will generate excitement and entice customers.
“A key priority for us is to ensure visitors have a seamless experience when visiting BPS and the surrounding area. We are expecting people to come here to not just shop but to also dine with us, go to a music gig, partake in events, make use of the parks and everything else that this innovative project is making available to them,” concludes Cotton.