White City Rising: Part One
While many London developers are looking eastward for expansion, the White City regeneration project is a pleasing west-side counterbalance. Eternally considered BBC’s spiritual home, W12 has strayed from its industrial roots to become London’s newest multibillion-pound “opportunity area”. We take a look at some of the projects in development in Part 1 of a White City tour.
Beyond being the home of the BBC, White City was never quite sure what it was or what it wanted to become. Originally the site of the 1908 Franco-British Exhibition and the Summer Olympics, it derived its name from the white marble used on the exhibition pavilions.
In the 1930s, the area was gobbled up with large housing estates, and in the 1960s, the BBC built its iconic Television Centre. For decades the area was surrounded by large international corporations like GlaxoSmithKline, but could never quite shake its gritty reputation. In modern times, the entire area was largely overlooked as new creative clusters rose up in east London.
Now that the BBC is mostly gone, the area has gained some clarity. Developers and stakeholders envision White City as a lively enclave of media, creatives and academia in a well-designed community of homes, shops, restaurants, greenspaces and well-designed offices. With £8B invested in the area, it is getting there quickly, as you can see with all the construction cranes visible in the image, which was taken looking west from the BBC's Television Centre.
Westfield London’s megamall got the ball rolling when it opened in 2008. It is now getting a £1B expansion of new shops, including a 200k SF John Lewis department store. Westfield London and St. James will each build 1,500 homes (shown here), and St. James is also kicking in a new four-acre public park, White City Green.
Imperial College London is building new world-class research facilities and student housing north of the A40 (shown here). Accommodation blocks for post-graduates are already complete.
New infrastructure will connect the area with other west London opportunity areas like Old Oak Common, where a transportation super-hub is planned. If Queens Park Rangers Football Club gets its new stadium at Old Oak Common, it will free up its Loftus Road facilities bordering White City, which would be prime redevelopment space for more homes.
At the heart of the White City redevelopment is Stanhope’s White City Place (shown here) and BBC Television Centre. The old Beeb building is undergoing a £1.5B makeover that will turn the former media headquarters into an upscale apartment building and a trendy new Soho House Hotel. We’ll take a closer look at this project tomorrow in Part 2 of our look at White City.