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Whitgift Centre Revamp Receives New Interest Posted On 24 September 2021

The man behind Boxpark is set to move in on the redevelopment of the Whitgift Centre

 

Roger Wade’s current business, Boxpark, currently has three locations for his multi-use venues, which offer eating, drinking and entertainment experiences. As well as the Croydon site, Boxpark venues can also be found in Shoreditch and at Wembley. However, his interest in converting the disused shopping centre may be premature, for it was only five years ago that Wade received a £5m loan for the construction of his second Boxpark site.

When speaking with Retail Week, Wade made his intentions to take over the centre clear. He said, ‘If people don’t step up, we will be looking to step up and put a consortium together to redevelop the scheme’.

He went on to say, ‘I see no reason why we couldn’t look at redeveloping the scheme. So we’re throwing our hat into the arena. We’ve got a proven track record of dealing with Croydon’.

Wade will also be buoyed by the particular success of the Croydon branch of Boxpark, outlining this site as his most successful: ‘We’ve had a fantastic five years in Croydon. We believe in Croydon and I think we understand retail, we understand leisure and we understand hospitality’.

There were hopes, in 2020, that the centre would be revitalised, and would include 967 new homes and more than 500,000 square metres of shops and restaurants in a new shopping centre, plus a hotel. However, after this was proposed in 2018, this idea was soon axed.

In March of last year, Director of planning at the council, Heather Cheesbrough, admitted that the attempts to revamp the centre were ‘challenging’. She made clear that a sudden refurbishment would not be possible, however hinted that there were opportunities to create short to medium term differences, because of the number of local businesses in Croydon.

Wade’s vision for the centre seems to be similar to that of the original 2018 plans, so it will be interesting to see if this latest attempt to bring back the glory of the Whitgift Centre has any substance to it.

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