// London’s West End is set to ‘bounce back’ from Covid with £5 billion cash injection
// The biggest single scheme is the £1 billion Outernet Global entertainment hub centered on Denmark Street
The West End is poised to bounce back strongly from the pandemic with more than £5 billion of investment lined up over the next five years, according to a new survey.
New West End Company, which represents 600 businesses on Oxford Street, Regent Street, Bond Street and in Mayfair, said the unprecedented injection of funding into the district will come through 22 major development projects.
The biggest single scheme is the £1 billion Outernet Global entertainment hub centered on Denmark Street, followed by Grosvenor’s £500 million redevelopment of the South Molton Street triangle in Mayfair.
The investment will not only be looking to bounce back from a pandemic that ravaged the retail, hospitality and commercial property sectors, but to also 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 per cent of the West End developments listed will be mixed use.
The launch of Outernet London – the first of a global network of the world’s most advanced immersive media, entertainment and culture districts – and 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.
Grosvenor Britain & Ireland chief executive 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.
“In Mayfair, our development pipeline alone represents c£1 billion of future investment in the destination’s recovery and resilience to climate change. Our commitment to net zero and schemes like the redesign of Grosvenor Square and South Molton Triangle will play a major part in re-establishing the area’s draw to climate conscious and experience-driven consumers.
“We will also continue to advocate for initiatives that will help the local community and businesses get back on their feet post COVID including reducing traffic pollution and enhancing air quality.”
New West End Company chief executive Jace Tyrell 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.
“Some of the work is already underway, but – as it stands – those that are placing their financial faith in the West End are working with one hand tied behind their back. With support from the Government, we need to make the West End as attractive as possible to both domestic and international visitors, showing them why London is the place to shop, dine, explore and experience over alternatives such as Paris or Milan. This means exploring a simplified visa process to entice overseas visitors back to British shores.
“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.”
As well as providing much needed support to businesses in the capital, this investment will also focus on making the West End a more sustainable district.
This is now a top priority for consumers as a recent New West End Company survey revealed that 51 per cent would like to see brands reduce packing use.
New West End Company will also be working with partners at Westminster City Council, Transport for London and the Mayor’s Office to develop one of the first UK Zero Emission Transport Zones, with diesel buses reduced by 50 per cent in the last six years.