Proposed O2 Arena Commercial Property Development is Good News for Greenwich

Posted on 4 December, 2011 by Neil Bird

Next year promises to be an exciting time for Greenwich which from 2012, will be entitled to add the prefix ‘Royal’ to its name. Already a World Heritage Centre, the honour will be bestowed on the London borough to mark the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations. Greenwich will also be hosting several Olympic and Paralympic events at venues including the O2 Arena which, following the games, could become home to a new commercial property development adding to the areas growing list of attractions.

Greenwich, famous for the National Maritime Museum and the Royal Observatory, is only a twenty minute journey from the West End, but its rich history and its links with royalty give it its own distinctive culture and style. Today, it is a major attraction to tourists and shoppers alike. With a variety of independent commercial properties lining its Georgian and Victorian streets – offering everything from furniture and delicatessen food, to vintage fashions and books – there’s something for everyone to enjoy. Furthermore Greenwich boasts a unique covered market regarded by many as one of the best in the city.

The borough is also benefitting from the continued development of its Digital Peninsula, a rapidly expanding district of high-tech businesses clustered around Ravensbourne College and the Digital Enterprise Centre. Offering 21,000 square feet of serviced offices the centre enables digital businesses to share ideas in a high quality environment. It is linked to an exhibition centre and conveniently close to a new development featuring 150 retail commercial properties and cafes.

During London 2012 the buzz surrounding the area will be heightened further as it welcomes a total of 34 Olympic events.  Greenwich Park will play host to the equestrian and modern pentathlon competitions while the shooting and archery events will take place at the Royal Artillery Barracks. Meanwhile the O2 Arena, which will be known as the North Greenwich Arena for the duration of the games, and will stage the basketball, trampoline and artistic gymnastics events.

The former Millennium Dome has confounded those who gloomily predicted it would prove to be nothing more than an expensive white elephant, to become an important feature of the Greenwich landscape. Incorporating a music venue, cinemas and exhibition spaces as well as bars and restaurants it now attracts an estimated eight million visitors a year. Most of the visitors attend in the evening, but that could be about to change if a new proposal reported in the Evening Standard comes to fruition next year.

According to the reports, the entertainment group Anschutz is considering submitting a planning application for a 200,000 sq ft commercial property development that would occupy vacant space on the ground floor of the arena. The plan would bring together an unused balcony, that was originally planned to house one of the ‘super casinos’ proposed by the previous government. It is thought the development would involve 118 retail commercial properties as well as outlets serving food and drink.

Anschutz envisages the development as a ‘designer village’ type complex that would have little impact on other commercial properties in the area or nearby shopping centres like Stratford, as it would be catering for a specific market. The company has reportedly discussed the matter with Greenwich Council and may be close to making an application. If this were to be successful, work could begin immediately after the close of the Olympics and would be finished by the summer of 2014, representing more good news for the future Royal Borough of Greenwich.

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