St James looks set to receive a £450m facelift thanks to four planning applications submitted by The Crown Estate.
The redevelopment would transform a hefty section of St James’s creating some 340,000 sq ft of revamped mixed accommodation stretching between Haymarket and Regent Street.
The Crown Estate owns almost half of the buildings in the St James area, a portfolio which is valued at around £1.1bn and makes up around 4 million sq ft. These planning applications are part of an investment programme set up by the royal property portfolio.
“Our investment in St James’s builds on the area’s status by providing a first rate destination amenity space for those living, working and visiting the area,” said James Cooksey, head of St James’s Portfolio at The Crown Estate.
“Together with our Gateway scheme and investment in Trafalgar House and British Columbia House, it demonstrates the major progress we’re making in delivering on our St James’s strategy.”
The jewel in The Crown Estate’s grand plan will be a scheme known as St James’s Market. This will be a commercial redevelopment of two blocks, one on Regent Street, one on Haymarket, creating 211,000 sq ft of office and 45,000 sq ft of retail and restaurant space.
The project will juxtapose 21st Century architecture with historic facades and will include a public walkway. It is hoped this will, “bring the area back into line with the quality of historic St James’s.”
The scheme is named after the once famous, now lost area called St James’s Market. Between the 17th and 19th centuries this was a spacious street brimming with inns, with a hay and straw market. When John Nash redeveloped Regents Street in the 1820s, the market was lost.
“St James’s Market is perhaps the most significant development we have ever undertaken and builds on the two schemes currently on site as part of our investment in St James’s and Regent Street to provide modern space for global businesses,” said Alastair Smart, head of development at The Crown Estate
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