Investment in London’s transport infrastructure is playing a vital role in stimulating economic growth, say local business leaders in King’s Cross, as the station marks the first birthday of the stunning new western concourse.
The new concourse, which opened to the public in March 2012, is the largest structure of its kind in Europe, containing over 27,000 sq ft of retail space across 27 units and employing over 500 staff. The local community are also enjoying the new facilities with research showing more people than ever are using the station simply for shopping.
Retailers at some of Britain’s biggest and busiest railway stations across have seen like-for-like sales outperform the high street for the tenth consecutive quarter, new figures show.
At King’s Cross, since the new concourse opened some retail units have seen sales increase by over 50%. Quarter 3 total sales were an impressive £11m, which was a jump of over £1.2m from quarter 2 and £2.8m up from quarter 1. It’s predicted that total sales for the full year will reach £38m.
This was recognised earlier this year when Network Rail won a prestigious award from the British Council of Shopping Centres (BCSC) for retail at the station, beating off competition from major shopping centres across the country to take home the Gold in the ‘Refurbishment and Extension’ category.
All profits from Network Rail’s commercial activities are reinvested in the railway, reducing the cost to taxpayers and passengers.
But the benefits to the economy do not stop at the boundary of the station. The redevelopment of the station is credited by the major developers in the area with helping to encourage the regeneration of the area.
Speaking about the huge 67 acre development to the north of the station, David Partridge, director of Argent (King’s Cross) Ltd, and chairman of the King’s Cross Business Partnership, said: “It is a year since the stunning western concourse opened at King’s Cross station and the area around it continues to evolve at a rapid pace. The concourse has helped to further change perceptions of King’s Cross and serves to welcome people to what is now one of the most exciting and extraordinary places in the capital.
“In the year since the unveiling of the concourse, King’s Cross Central Limited Partnership has opened Granary Square, London’s newest public space, welcomed our first residents and signed a deal with Google that will see them developing their new UK headquarters at King’s Cross.
“Much of this is made possible because of the unrivalled accessibility of King’s Cross and St Pancras stations following £2.5bn worth of investment into transport infrastructure and we now look forward to the opening of the new King’s Cross Square.”
To the east on York Way, Macmillan’s global science and education division’s new ‘campus’ is now taking shape in Regent Quarter.
Annette Thomas, CEO of Macmillan Science & Education, said: “Every day we welcome scientists, professors, teachers, journalists, editors, writers and entrepreneurs into our offices. Here at King’s Cross, we are perfectly placed to take advantage of the unrivalled transport connections on our doorstep, just a stone’s throw away from all that London has to offer in terms of science, culture and academia.”
The Great Northern Hotel, which was designed by the same architect as the station, Lewis Cubitt, and was one of the first hotels aimed at rail passengers, has also been redeveloped and will soon be opening after a 12 year closure.
Jeremy Robson, owner and operator of the Great Northern Hotel said: “This is an extremely exciting time for King’s Cross and we are delighted to be playing a part in its regeneration.
“The Great Northern Hotel stands on an intersection of extraordinary, global connectivity in what is the biggest railway hub in Europe with 135m passengers passing through annually. The signature dome of the new western concourse was designed to fit the crescent shape of the hotel itself and our ground floor opens directly onto the concourse and is just 18 metres from the Eurostar terminal at St Pancras International. Our restaurant Plum + Spilt Milk and many of the bedrooms have views overlooking London’s newest public space – King’s Cross Square.”