West End businesses band together to fight soaring Chinatown rentsComments Off on West End businesses band together to fight soaring Chinatown rents
West End (Chinatown) Tenants’ Association has been launched in response to concerns that restaurants and retailers are being priced out of the area.
It comes around the same time as the architects that helped transform King’s Cross from seedy to suave unveiled images of their vision for tidying-up Chinatown.
The formation comes after local restaurant owner Jon Man in March sounded the alarm that Chinatown could disappear in five years as businesses feel the pinch of property costs.
He said: “We will stand up for all them [independent businesses], to create a level playing field with landlords which will result in protecting the identity and character of the internationally renowned West End.”
The group has hired DeVono Property to help thrash out better rental deals with landlords.
“We would expect to shave up to 15% off what property owners are quoting, and therefore help those that in some cases have been subject to landlords trying to hike rents beyond sustainable levels,” said Philip Sandzer, head of retail at DeVono Property.
Chinatown is one of a number of markets in London that has caught the attention of building owners wanting to capitalise on the arrival of Crossrail in 2018 which will boost tourists and shoppers spending in the West End.
Landlord Shaftesbury submitted plans to Westminster city council to redevelop the Newport Sandringham building which it snapped up the commercial parts of in March last year for £54.4million.
The prominent block with fronts on Charing Cross Road and Newport Place will be revamped by architects Buckley Gray Yeoman.
It will reconfigure small, narrow and cluttered space, with 13,500 square feet of restaurants and 32,000 square feet of shops.
Brian Bickell, chief executive of Shaftesbury said: “If approved our plans will bring long-term benefits for local businesses and visitors to the area ahead of the arrival of Crossrail in late 2018”.
The plans were welcomed by Hugh Radford, executive director in property agent CBRE’s retail team who said he expects Shaftesbury “to retain an eclectic retailer mix”.