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Repurposing in the West End and specifically in the retail and entertainment sector has helped breathe some life back into the main spaces in London. While repurposing has been happening around London for some time, the Covid-19 pandemic has certainly sped things up.

Long term benefits of repurposing

While the retail industry remains strong and robust, with tourists returning soon, there has been an increase in the availability of assets in the West End’s main shopping districts. For this reason, repurposing underused spaces could offer a sustainable and profitable solution for all the years to come.

Examples of repurposing the West End

Food and beverages (F&B), as well as leisure, have boomed due to increased footfall. For example, the former BHS store on Oxford Street was repurposed to include food and beverages, an urban golf concept, and a smaller retail unit.

Office conversions are incredibly high in demand in post-Covid London. With the West End in particular, the size of the units will make for easy conversion. This includes the likes of John Lewis, a retailer who announced in January 2021 that 45% of their flagship on Oxford Street will be converted into an office space.

Planning permission

There was a change in September 2020 in the planning system that said you no longer need planning permission if you would like to switch between F&B, health centres, retail, indoor recreation and gyms. It’s worth mentioning however that the preservation of some retail assets remains vital to maintain the status of the West End as an international shopping location.

Tenancy agreements

Mixed retail tenant offers have been an economically smart way to go post-Covid in comparison to the regular retail and entertainment offering in the past. An example of this is with Microsoft – a company that opened its first-ever flagship on Oxford Street this year.

For more information on the way we’re repurposing leisure and entertainment venues in the West End, or to learn more about the ways in which your refurbishment and construction needs can best be served, feel free to get in touch with our team at Virtus Contracts today.

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