London’s West End set to "bounce back" with £5 billion capital investment
The West End is set to bounce back from the pandemic as the world’s leading cultural, retail and leisure hub with more than £5 billion of investment lined up over the next five years, according to a new survey.
The unprecedented investment will come through 22 existing and new West End developments.
The biggest single scheme is the £1 billion Outernet Global entertainment hub - the first of a global network of the world's most advanced immersive media, entertainment and culture districts - centered on Denmark Street, followed by Grosvenor’s £500 million redevelopment of the South Molton Street triangle in Mayfair (pictured above).
New West End Company, which represents 600 businesses on Oxford Street, Regent Street, Bond Street and in Mayfair, said the investment will help West End evolve into the destination of choice for the modern consumer. Traditional bricks and mortar stores will be joined by brands that fulfil the needs of a consumer looking for a more diversified and immersive experience from their city centres.
In one of the most ambitious overhauls of a high street to date, 76% of the West End developments listed will be mixed use. Besides the launch of Outernet London, the plans to turn Cavendish Square into a health and wellbeing destination are just two examples of a new era for London’s West End.
Jace Tyrrell, CEO at New West End Company, said: “London’s West End has long held a place as one of the globe’s leading commercial hubs, but this unprecedented level of billions in capital investment will cement our spot as the most iconic and diverse consumer district in the world. As Covid restrictions ease, we are now looking ahead to a high street that aligns to our 21st century customer.”
However, business leaders warned that the district is held back by barriers to overseas tourists including complex visa rules and the eradication of tax-free shopping.
Grosvenor Britain & Ireland CEO James Raynor said: "Over the last year, we’ve seen an incredible response to interventions like outdoor dining, pavement widening and public art schemes.
"But to secure the West End’s future we need to think bigger and bolder. Only continued investment in the evolution of the place and political support to entice back international visitors will see it able to contribute to the UK economy as it has in past years.
Tyrrell added: “We truly believe that we are building back better and more sustainably, but - if we want consumers to flock back to our high street and continue to support one in ten London jobs that benefits both the Capital and country - we must clear a path for them.”