Rupert Bentley-Smith speaks to New London Quarterly on Crossrail Place
Rupert Bentley-Smith speaks to New London Quarterly on Crossrail Place.
The opening of Crossrail Place represents a seminal moment for Canary Wharf as it is set to provide the trigger for transition between what is an incredibly successful business location, to further progression in the form of Canary Wharf Residential, and from our perspective, the next generation of retail and leisure.
Between the directors at Bruce Gillingham Pollard we have been involved with the Canary Wharf estate for the last 25 years, witnessing and aiding Canary Wharf Group to take the retail and leisure proposition from zero to almost 1,000,000 square feet, now incorporating over 300 shops and restaurants. Crossrail Place is the latest addition, with 100,000 square feet of retail and leisure set over the top four floors of a seven-floor building that stands at 256 metres in length. It’s located away from the spine of the retail malls but designed to link effortlessly back to the heart of the retail with the majority of the operators being situated at Level -1; the same level as Canada Place mall, currently the busiest location on the estate.
Opening three years ahead of Crossrail’s first train service, the Crossrail Place scheme is a dynamic project, creating excitement and appeal for brands who have been looking for an opportunity to take their first steps into London’s East End. The attraction for the brands is to capitalise on the existing and everincreasing demand from the working and residential population, but with an eye on 2018 when the building will become an active station as part of the most exciting change in transport infrastructure to happen in London for many years.
The nature of the building has carried huge appeal to prospective tenants; everything from the Foster + Partnersdesigned roof through to the unique roof garden which references both the history and geography of Canary Wharf, and also its presence in the middle of North Dock. The development is outdoor, in contrast to the majority of retail and leisure at Canary Wharf, and this provides an insight into the thinking for future developments at Canary Wharf, which will be dominated by unprotected streetscapes and squares. The strategy was to target retail, restaurant, and leisure operators who do not have numerous existing outlets, and who would provide a definite point of difference to anything on the current estate. A plan designed to satisfy the appetite among the local population for new concepts, and importantly at an accessible price point so as not to be exclusively for the corporate spend, and to add further to the offer for the weekend customers.
Everyman cinema and the boutique spin studio Psycle provide strong leisure anchors one level below the water at Level -2, while at promenade level, restaurants such as The Breakfast Club, Sticks‘n’Sushi, Chai Ki and Ippudo are all restaurant concepts with only a few existing London locations, and remaining with the same theme, Notes is providing the coffee offer rather than one of the more obvious national brands. Further to this we specifically targeted Bespoke, a high-end destination bike shop located on Farringdon Road, and the Big Easy will be launching a 10,000 sq ft flagship unit with terrace overlooking the water at Park Level, for an abundance of lobster and live music.
No office tenants directly above, and no reason to go to Crossrail Place other than the building, the roof garden, and the collection of retail, restaurants and leisure, makes this a first for Canary Wharf, but the early indications and all of the feedback to date suggest that Crossrail Place is a significant addition to Canary Wharf’s social and cultural community.
The Bowler, Monmouth Street
Following the success of his street food truck 'The Lawn Ranger', Jez Fenwick has teamed up with Russell Norman and Richard Beatty, the duo behind Polpo, to open The Bowler, which brings his sought-after meatballs to Monmouth Street. We were lucky enough to have lunch at The Bowler today, which has only been open for a few days .
Open from 9am to 11pm daily, The Bowler serves a selection of meatballs including pork shoulder and beef chuck, lamb and feta, and green chilli chicken, in addition to super-tasty vegetarian option, the ‘Balafel’. All meatballs are served with fresh sauces, crispy shallots and crunchy homemade slaw in either a pitta or in a box with rice and salad.
There’s also a variety of craft beers available from Beavertown Brewery, as well as Cawston Press Juices, and Jimmy’s Iced Coffee.