A £1bn plan to restore London’s ‘first department store’ to its former glory is to include the creation of a four- or five-star boutique hotel.
The scheme to revive Whiteley’s mall on Queensway will involve the demolition of the majority of the building, apart from its Grade-II facade and trademark dome and cupulas.
Space will then be made for a four- or five-star boutique hotel on the ground and first floors after the building undergoes a rebuild.
There will also be a courtyard in the middle, which will be earmarked for a ‘rich diversity of quirky and idiosyncratic retailers’, according the architects in charge of the project, Foster & Partners.
The plans also include about 120 homes and a leisure complex including cinemas, bowling alley and a gym.
The owners of Whiteley’s, property investment fund Meyer Bergman, hope the plan will rejuvenate what was once one of the three great pioneering “palaces of retail” in central London alongside Harrods and Selfridges.
Speaking to the Evening Standard, Patrick Campbell of Foster & Partners said: “This scheme has to be different from the other big retail hubs that are very close. It is about taking a dying shopping centre and turning it inside out.”
The roof will become home to a winter garden and the unfinished cupula at the northern end will be completed, more than a century after the building was first built in 1863.
The venture is a joint partnership between Markus Meijer, co-founder and chief executive of Meyer Bergman and Warrior Group, headed up by west London property entrepreneur Warren Todd.
Meyer Bergman bought the building from Standard Life for £115m in 2013.
Mr Meijer said he hoped the 525,000 sq ft scheme would help regenerate the whole of the Queensway area.