Monday 25 Mar 2013
Revamped King’s Cross station provides double boost for local economy
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.”
Notes to editors
Network Rail is one of the largest land and property owners in the country, and commercial activities are core to the operation and development of our overall business. Over a five-year period until 2014, all property activities including retail, business space and commercial developments, are forecast to generate £1.3b – all of which will be reinvested straight back into the railways for the benefit of passengers.
Network Rail has over 520,000 sq ft of high footfall retail space at its 17 managed stations, many of which are amongst the largest stations in Britain. Like-for-like retail sales results at these stations have outperformed the high street for the last ten successive quarters.
Network Rail is the country’s largest provider of commercial property to small and medium sized businesses with a diverse portfolio of over 7,400 properties nationwide. The business space estate has occupancy rates of 95%.
Network Rail works in partnership to promote regeneration around our stations and improve the journey experience by leveraging investment from the public and private sectors. Development projects include multi-million pound commercial schemes above our stations at London Bridge (Shard) and Solum Regeneration, a multi-site joint venture with Kier Property.
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We own, operate and develop Britain's railway infrastructure; that's 20,000 miles of track, 30,000 bridges, tunnels and viaducts and the thousands of signals, level crossings and stations. We run 20 of the UK's largest stations while all the others, over 2,500, are run by the country's train operating companies.
Every day, there are more than 4.8 million journeys made in the UK and over 600 freight trains run on the network. People depend on Britain's railway for their daily commute, to visit friends and loved ones and to get them home safe every day. Our role is to deliver a safe and reliable railway, so we carefully manage and deliver thousands of projects every year that form part of the multi-billion pound Railway Upgrade Plan, to grow and expand the nation's railway network to respond to the tremendous growth and demand the railway has experienced - a doubling of passenger journeys over the past 20 years.