Westfield London Expansion
Since opening in 2008, Westfield London has transformed London’s retail landscape, rejuvenated the local area through the improvement and expansion of key transport hubs and changed the way consumers shop through the adoption of new technology.
Currently home to over 300 luxury, premium and high street retailers and 60 places to dine, Westfield London is currently undergoing a dramatic extension programme to consolidate Westfield London’s position as a world-leading retailer and entertainment destination.
Speaking to Premier Construction magazine about the development, Keith Whitmore, Head of Design and Construction, UK and Europe at Westfield said: “When you have a development like the original building, which we call phase one, there comes a time when there is a need, because the market place demands it, for it to grow.”
The construction of the £600 million retail expansion began in 2015 and is targeted to launch in March 2018.
“Currently we are constructing phase two and that will not only increase the numbers of retailers but it will also increase the overall square footage, as well as the car parking spaces – a total of 5,500 spaces will be on the site,” said Keith. “The numbers in terms of retail space will increase to around 450 shops in total, with a total area for phase 1 and phase 2 of around 2.6 million square feet of lettable space.”
The extension, which will bring a 230,000 sq.ft. flagship John Lewis store to West London will continue Westfield London’s transformative impact on the local area. The new department store alone is expected to be a major attraction for customers, adding to the millions of UK and tourist shoppers who visit Westfield London annually.
Keith added: “Discussions with retailers like John Lewis are important because they are often the trigger to the commencement of the development concept stage into the physical – getting that agreement with John Lewis fires the gun to get the development going. There are currently conversations with a number of key retailers about coming into the centre.”
The extension will also incorporate a number of restaurants at ground level facing onto Relay Square, which will help to provide active frontages to a façade which previously was not activated.
Keith commented: “In front of the phase two extension is what we call Relay Square, which will be a huge external event space. It sits in front of the extension and has external wi-fi, external power connections and is almost serviced as you would a building.
“Phase one has an immediately recognisable iconic roof that we have continued seamlessly into the extension. People love it – the airiness and the lightness. When we first created it, it was very complex and very new. Engineering has moved on since then and the result – a stunning freeform structure and the largest roof of its kind in the world – is a key feature of the extension. The John Lewis façade is also another key feature which John Lewis played a key role in the design of.
“Technology within the building is another key feature. Phase one is coming up to ten years of age and even though it has been kept up to date and is managed well, technology has moved on dramatically so the extension is getting new technology added to it.”
Alongside the major enhancements to Westfield London, the expansion will deliver very significant benefits in numerous ways to the Borough and adjoining areas.
Keith concluded: “There is a huge amount of development going on in the area – the majority of that is residential. When you look around the area, this is a focal point. We are not just a shopping centre, we are a destination. We want to provide facilities; restaurants and places where people can meet. This will be a destination for all of the residents.
“I was part of phase one and have been involved with all of our schemes since Westfield came to the UK. I have been responsible for the design and delivery of those buildings and for me, to come back and help grow this is phenomenal. From a personal perspective, it is hugely important to me. I am very proud of the fact that I work for Westfield and we have delivered these projects. These are life changing destinations and it has been a pleasure to do them and being a part of that makes me feel hugely proud. I will look back on my career with pride and admiration at what we have been able to achieve.”