Westfield moves HQ to shopping centre, but not in Croydon

Westfield delivered the latest slap in the face to Croydon this morning, when it announced that it is to move its corporate headquarters to Shepherd’s Bush.

Westfield Shepherd’s Bush: the company’s chosen headquarters

True, Westfield London does have an advantage over Westfield Croydon, in that it has already been built.

But today’s announcement by Unibail-Rodamco Westfield was immediately interpreted by some council figures as the latest sign of lack of confidence in the global shopping centre operators ever delivering on their long-promised plans for Croydon.

According to trade publications, Westfield will quit its central London headquarters in High Holborn and take up a 27,000 sq ft office in new commercial accommodation above the existing shopping centre, part of “a desire by the business to bring its employees and occupiers together”.

The offices will look out on to the outdoor entertainment and events space – Westfield Square – and the recently announced Exhibition London, which is a 3,000-capacity event space in the historic DIMCO buildings. Westfield completed their shopping centre at Shepherd’s Bush in 2008, but has recently undertaken what it calls a “Phase Two” expansion, and the company will be taking up around half of the commercial space created by Phase Two.

Commercial property insiders have suggested that the decision to move into the recently completed offices may be because Westfield have encountered difficulties in finding rent-paying tenants.

Westfield announced in February that it was postponing the planned start of demolition work on Croydon’s Whitgift Centre, while they and their partners on the £1.4billion scheme, Hammerson, conduct a “review” of their plans. Since 2012, Westfield has been granted planning permission for two versions of their Croydon development, which was originally supposed to be open for business by 2017.

Three months after their announcement, and the company has still to state how long it intends to conduct its review of the Croydon project, nor when it expects to begin construction work, if at all.

Catalyst: Una O’Reilly

Today, talking of the company’s office move to Shepherd’s Bush, Unibail-Rodamco Westfield director Una O’Reilly said: “Our London destinations continue to be catalysts for the development of the surrounding areas, making them attractive places to visit, work, live and enjoy.”

O’Reilly didn’t mention the last time she visited the Whitgift Centre.

“We wanted our UK Headquarters to be right at the heart of it. Our new head offices are designed by our people, for our people and bringing them together in a dynamic and collaborative working environment.”

Which is nice.

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News, views and analysis about the people of Croydon, their lives and political times in the diverse and most-populated borough in London. Based in Croydon and edited by Steven Downes. To contact us, please email inside.croydon@btinternet.com
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1 Response to Westfield moves HQ to shopping centre, but not in Croydon

  1. Lewis White says:

    Will we see the eventual sale of the Whitgift Centre to the Chinese? A developer could get at least 6 x 200 storey tower blocks on the site, with Croydon finding a new role as an overspill settlement for crowded Chinese cities like Hong Kong.

    The new development on the old East Croydon Goods yard site could be demolished and replaced with the UK terminus of the Chinese “New Silk Road” railway, allowing easy access for tidal waves of new cars, computers, and white goods, not forgetting seasonal plastic toys and Christmas Crackers.

    Link it with a goods siding loop ( just need to get rid of that bit of the Croydon tram link to Wimbledon) Then the Beddington Incinerator could then start importing waste from China, securing valuable employment for the good folk of North and Western Croydon and district.
    It wouldn’t result in any more traffic on Beddington Lane, so that must be a no-brainer “win -win”.

    A real cause for celebration ! Hip Hip…Hawei !!

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