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New Development Planned For Famous East London Brewery Site

New Development Planned For Famous East London Brewery Site
Old Truman Brewery

The owners of the famous Old Truman Brewery on Brick Lane in east London are planning a significant new office and retail development on the site, which could unlock further future development.

A planning application was lodged with Tower Hamlets earlier this year for a new 122K SF scheme, which will be around two-thirds office space, with the rest given over to shops, restaurants and a gym.

The plans would be a continuance of the development of former industrial sites on the fringe of the City of London, like nearby Spitalfields Market and the former Fruit & Wool Exchange.

Old Truman Brewery is a 10-acre site that straddles Brick Lane, an area long synonymous with London’s Bangladeshi community, but which in the past two decades has become a hipster hangout due to the number of creative firms renting space in the Spitalfields area.

A brewery was first established on the site in the 1660s, shortly after the Great Fire of London, and in the 19th century it was the largest brewery in the world, famous for a thick brown ale that came to be known as porter, after the London ship porters who drank it. 

New Development Planned For Famous East London Brewery Site
The new plans for part of the Old Truman Brewery

But through the 20th century a series of corporate deals for parts of the Truman brewing company, as well as the rise of lighter beers like lager, saw production gradually reduced at the site, and by the 1990s it was derelict. 

It was bought by the Zeloof family in the late 1990s, who renovated the multiple buildings, renting space to creative firms and independent art galleries, bars, nightclubs and retailers, turning the site into a thriving cultural destination.

Now, under the leadership of one of three Zeloof brothers, Jason, a commercial overhaul is planned. Planning documents show Zeloof has been negotiating with planners at Tower Hamlets for three years on the new scheme, which will be built on the south-east corner of the larger site. 

The documents show it could be the first part of a wider development comprising the whole site. The scheme has been designed by architecture firm Buckley Gray Yeoman. 

Documents said consultation with local residents and stakeholders had largely been positive, but not everyone is pleased. Local society The Spitalfields Trust argued the design was not suitable since it sits in a local conservation area, and that any new scheme should be geared toward affordable housing and workspace for the kind of smaller firms that already occupy space in the area.