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Westminster green lights KPF’s £750m Victoria office scheme

By 07/05/2021No Comments

KPF Victoria 1

Westminster council has given the green light to proposals for a £750m mixed-use block in Victoria set to replace a House of Fraser store which has traded on the site for 150 years.

The local authority voted last Tuesday to approve the plans for developer BentallGreenOak, which will see the existing 1970s building demolished and replaced with a 16-storey scheme designed by KPF.

The application, which includes nearly £10m in CIL payments, is now due to head to the GLA for final sign-off once its section 106 agreement has been agreed.

It it the latest in a growing list of department stores around the country that are facing demolition after their owners were forced out of business by changing shopping habits and the pandemic.

The site, on Victoria Street, has been a department store since 1872, originally as an Army & Navy stores before the brand was purchased by House of Fraser in 1973.

The new scheme will feature two basement levels, retail units at ground level, one storey of affordable workspace and 14 more storeys above providing 53,255 sq m of office space.

It will also include a ground level “village green” lined with small retail booths which will provide a new pedestrian route through the centre of the building between Victoria Street and Howick Place.

Despite the council’s report on the proposals admitting that the block will have a “far greater street presence” than the current building and will have an “adverse impact” on daylight for its neighbours, it said that the benefits of the scheme outweighed the “harm [that] will be caused in terms of design, townscape and heritage”.

>> From the archive: Mike Stiff on How planners reshaped Victoria Street

>> Also read: Hammerson submits plans for 300 homes on former Debenhams store

The project team includes project manager Avison Young, planning consultant DP9, QS Gleeds, structural engineer AKT II, facade specialist Arup, interior architect Henning Larsen, landscape architect Bowles & Wyer and Sweco as MEP engineer, fire engineer and sustainability consultant.

The store will continue trading until next summer before being demolished later in the year.

House of Fraser went into administration in August 2018 before being bought out by retailer Mike Ashley’s Sports Direct chain the same day for £90m.

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