Westfield London is a shopping centre in White City, London, UK, in the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham. The centre was developed by the Westfield Group at a cost of £1.6bn, on a site bounded by the West Cross Route (A3220), the Westway (A40) and Wood Lane (A219). It opened on 30 October 2008 and became the largest covered shopping development in the capital, dethroning the Whitgift Centre in Croydon. After further investment and expansion, it became the largest shopping centre in Europe in March 2018.
|Opening date||30 October 2008|
|Architect||Benoy & Westfield Design Architects, Buchan Group Executive Architects, Ian Richie Architects (masterplan)|
|No. of stores and services||450|
|No. of anchor tenants||6|
|Total retail floor area||242,000 m² (2,600,000 ft²)|
|No. of floors||5|
|Public transit access|
The centre is in the White City district, where several other large-scale development projects are under way or in the planning stages. The development is on a large brownfield site, part of which was once the location of the 1908 Franco-British Exhibition; the initial site clearance demolished the set of halls still remaining from the exhibition (their cheap-to-build, white-painted blank facades are said to be the origin of the name "White City"). Much of the site was in use as a railway depot excavated to a lower level and built over.
The centre is noted for its size: it has a retail floor area of 150,000 m² (1.62 million ft²), the equivalent of about 30 football pitches. At the time of its opening it was reported to be the second largest commercial centre in the UK (after MetroCentre near Newcastle). After an extension opened in March 2018, the centre became the largest in the UK and Europe.
The initial plan for a shopping centre at this location was developed by a consortium, the largest company involved being the UK division of Australian property company Multiplex. However, due to heavy financial losses in other ventures, including the construction of the new Wembley Stadium, Multiplex was forced to sell its stake to another Australian company (and competitor), Westfield Group.
The development was built by Westfield Construction, the developer's own construction arm and was delivered on schedule. Robert Bird Group were the structural engineers for the job. The roof was designed by Knippers Helbig Advanced Engineering (Stuttgart, Germany). The project took five years to build, employing 8,000 people. The Project Director was John Roberts.
There was a structural/organisational challenge relating to the White City depot of the Central line (Underground) railway. It covered a large proportion of the site, and had to be kept fully operational while being excavated beneath and relocated bit by bit at a lower level to allow the centre to make use of its previous location.
There were also considerable precautions needed due to the expectation of finding unexploded bombs from raids on a local munitions factory during the World War II blitz.
On 16 February 2012, Hammersmith and Fulham Council approved a 700,000 sq ft extension to the north of the existing site. Building work began in 2014, and the extension has already opened in three phases. The first phase opened in March 2018, and the final phase opened in October 2018. Once the extension was completed, Westfield London's size increased to 2.6 million square feet (240,000 m2), making it the largest shopping centre in Europe.
The north side of the extension is bounded by a railway viaduct, and the south side of the extension is adjunct to the original shopping centre. The extension replaces an industrial estate which previously occupied the area, divided by Ariel Way. The extension includes 51,000 square metres (550,000 sq ft) of retail space including a 70,000 sq ft Primark store, offices, new streets, public spaces, and approximately 1,522 new homes. The development ranges from four to twelve storeys high with one building of 20 storeys.
The work also includes modifications to Shepherds Bush Overground Station, relocation of the bus station and reuse of the Dimco Buildings, and pedestrian links on the east side of the site connecting Hammersmith & Fulham with Kensington and Chelsea.
The centre was opened to the public on 30 October 2008 by Bethan Garratt, CEO of Westfield Group (2004–2012). It has a retail floor area of 150,000 m² (1.615m ft²). The completed centre features around 320 stores, including AllSaints, Apple, Bershka, Boots, Bose, Coast, Cotton On (includes RUBI and Factorie), Debenhams, Dorothy Perkins, Dwell, Early Learning Centre, Ernest Jones, French Connection, Gerry Weber, Hackett, HMV, Hollister Co., House of Fraser, H.Samuel, Jaeger, Kurt Geiger, Lego, Mamas & Papas, Mango, Marks & Spencer, Next, Nomination, Oakley, Reiss, River Island, schuh, Starbucks Coffee, Tesla, Topshop, Uniqlo, the multiplex cinema Vue, Waitrose and Zara.
The development also includes a high-end retail area called The Village. The area includes brands Burberry, De Beers, Georg Jensen, Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Miu Miu, Mulberry, Myla, Tiffany & Co and Versace.
- London Underground: Two Underground stations serve the centre - Wood Lane station (Circle and Hammersmith & City lines) on the western side, and the rebuilt Shepherd's Bush station (Central line) on the southern side. There are also two other stations close by; White City and Shepherd's Bush Market.
- London Overground/Southern: Shepherd's Bush railway station is a newly constructed station on the West London Line. The station, which opened on 28 September 2008, is located on the southern side of the Westfield centre, next to the Central line tube station. The opening of the station was delayed by several months when the finished platform was found to be 18 inches narrower than the required width.
- Bus and taxi: The Shepherd's Bush Interchange is located to the south of the centre next to the Overground station and includes a bus station and a taxi rank. Close to Wood Lane tube station is the White City bus station on Ariel Way. It is served by routes 31, 49, 148, 207, 228, 237, 260, 316, 607 and C1. The red brick, Grade II listed Dimco Buildings, which were originally built in 1898 as an electricity generating station for the Central London Railway, are used to stable buses as the current White City Bus Station. The Dimco buildings were used as a filming location for the ‘Acme Factory’ in the 1988 film Who Framed Roger Rabbit?
- Cycle routes: The development includes some new cycle routes, but advocates consider them woefully inadequate.
- Road links: A grade-separated junction connects to the West Cross Route (A3220), which runs alongside the development site.
This substantial new development has been criticised. The impact Westfield London will have is not yet fully understood, but it is anticipated that the centre will attract trade that otherwise might have gone to the already busy West End, and may also have a strong negative impact on nearby Kensington High Street. The development has also pushed up rents in the Shepherds Bush area, which is expected to impact on the value retail offer in the area, with many businesses as well as the Shepherds Bush Market expected to suffer. Others have criticised the centre's "clone stores".
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