Ambitious vision for Wembley Park retail unveiled

Sophie Ellis-Bextor at Wembley Park

Quintain has unveiled an ambitious vision for the retail and leisure attractions at its £3bn Wembley Park transformation, one of Europe’s largest urban regeneration projects. Independent shops and restaurants, spaces for start-ups and artists’ studios and imaginative use of social spaces are at the core of the plans.

Models and proposals for the scheme were revealed by developer Quintain to some 200 commercial agents on Thursday 1 March. The event, which featured singer Sophie Ellis-Bextor, emphasised the exciting future for the area as well as building on the legendary past and iconic heritage.

The 85-acre site, that surrounds the world-renowned national stadium, will be divided into four distinct new districts. Each area has a project name, with final titles decided in consultation with the local community. The Boulevard will be a destination for memorable retail and dining experiences. The Village will feature a curated mix of independent operators. White Horse Square will provide daily convenience shopping and cafes. The Park will be the place for health and well-being around a seven-acre urban park.

The Wembley Park vision reflects a seismic shift underway in city living due to national property prices, changing lifestyles of Millennials and a different mindset on ownership, such as with cars. ‘Generation Rent’ is moving towards social spaces and shared facilities. Rather than residents staying, isolated, in the sitting room of their flats watching TV, studying or chilling with friends, local retail and leisure is replacing the sitting room, bringing residents out of their homes and into the community.

Matt Slade, Retail Director of Quintain, explained: “While greater use of social spaces is happening in pockets, such as Brixton, with individual cafes and one-off shops, Wembley Park puts this vision at the core of our ambition right across the site. This is one of the first times in the UK that shared spaces have been at the heart of the thinking on such a massive scale. We’re also creating facilities for the creative arts to flourish and for start-up businesses to prosper.”

Throughout the scheme, artists’ studios will provide places for creativity to thrive. Community engagement initiatives have been launched in line with the Wembley Park regeneration, including Yellow Pavilion – a social space for a variety of workshops for those that live, work and study in Wembley – and the Second Floor Studios & Arts (SFSA) project, which provides affordable studio space to creatives in the local community.

The retail and leisure vision unites with existing national and international attractions onsite include Wembley Stadium connected by EE, The SSE Arena, Wembley, and a variety of appealing seasonal events, from Chinese New Year to The Color Run, billed as “the happiest 5k on the planet”. These top venues and experiential events will sit alongside artisans, independent shops and restaurants. The aim is to create year-round interest for residents, workers and visitors.

Plans include much needed facilities include a new NHS centre, a school, a library and a new theatre. A total of 500,000 sq ft of retail and leisure will be provided, including some 240,000 sq ft of new build, plus 633,000 sq ft of Grade A office space and 7,000 new homes for 20,000 full-time residents when fully completed in 2027.

The majority retail and leisure will be completed in 2020, with over 40 new shops, restaurants and services complementing the current and proposed retail offers at London Designer Outlet (LDO), London’s leading fashion and lifestyle outlet centre with a proven track record and footfall of seven million a year. Additionally, Boxpark Wembley, the third and largest in London, will feature another 27 independent dining restaurants, bars and cafés when it opens in Summer 2018.

Matt Slade continued: “We expect to attract footfall of over 20 million a year and a projected annual retail spend of £328m, which is more than Camden, London Victoria or Ealing Broadway. The additional retail and leisure space will help cement Wembley Park’s fast-growing status as an exciting new destination to rival the very best areas of London. We’ll be ready to serve the neighbouring residential and working population in the immediate area as well as the wider, affluent catchment. With excellent communications links to central London, the Home Counties as well as domestic and international tourists, we’re sure we’ll have something for everyone.”

Quintain has its own Wembley Park Retail team headed by Matt Slade. Agents for Wembley Park are Nash Bond and Cushman & Wakefield.