Well, like the rest of the London and property media world I am off to Stratford today to see a Pussycat Doll, oh and some shopping centre that is apparently opening.
I will be there with a film camera and will update later today on the glitzy launch – well someone has to do it.
My memories of the opening of Westfield’s other mega mall in the UK, Westfield London, are that on visit a week before launch the site looked as if there was no chance that everything would be ready – and then the day came and the invited throng were completely blown away by what they saw. It has added to Westfield’s reputation for being one of those companies that delivers, no matter what is happening in the economy and wider market.
I have every expectation that today will be a similar triumph for the Australian developer. But more importantly, for the East End too there is at last a genuine slice of West End-style glamour opening up for business. The likes of Westfield, John Lewis, Marks & Spencer, and before them Chelsfield and Stanhope and London & Continental Railways, have long been convinced there is huge appetite for this in the area and surrounding hinterland. In this respect you can’t help but feel sense that today is a hugely significant one for east London that could shift perceptions and aspirations.
Anyway, before I go over the top, here are some of the facts.
Westfield will today open Europe’s largest urban shopping centre, the £1.45bn Stratford City in east London.
The 1.9m sq ft scheme adjacent to the 2012 Olympics Park in Stratford will be launched at a glitzy event that will begin this morning as a raft of guests and celebrities arrive, many via special services running from St Pancras Station to the site’s Stratford International train station.
The centre is set to be home to more than 300 shops, including anchor stores for John Lewis and Marks & Spencer, 70 restaurants, a 14-screen cinema, three hotels, a bowling alley and the UK’s largest casino – an Aspers.
The official opening will be hosted by Pixie Geldof and television presenter Nick Grimshaw, while Pussycat Doll Nicole Scherzinger will perform live and Kelly Brook will be on-hand to open the New Look store.
Westfield has consent for more than 1m sq ft of offices at the scheme and has already completed a 10-storey, 100,000 sq ft block.
CoStar News will be reporting the launch and will update later today.