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Market Visits

Where the FAANGs live.

Blair visited Battersea Power Station over the weekend and shared some of his thoughts.

22nd August 2022

Together with the new Kings Cross/Coal Drops Yard area, Battersea Power Station (BPS) is going to be one of London’s two new FAANG hubs in London. Apple have taken 500,000 sq. ft. in the central Boiler House at BPS. Whilst Google’s 650,000 sq. ft. ground scraper runs beside the tracks at Kings Cross, and Meta occupy 425,000 sq. ft. behind the old gas holder next to St Pancras Basin 500m Northwest of Google.

New retail places in the UK are rare. Geolytix always try and visit them, retail parks to shopping centres to urban districts.

We have already done a couple of appraisals for potential occupiers of BPS and three colleagues have had the guided tour. But it was great for me to see these areas as a regular visitor. First impressions prompt me to wonder about the symbiosis between futurist dystopian films and architects. Are the creatives working on ex Machina, Equals, and Gattacca the same people who designed Paddington Basin, Canary Wharf and Nine Elms? It sure feels like it.

The main retail areas are due to open October 8th, according to a friendly member of staff in one of the F&B units. There will be 120 units in the main power station building. And linking the tube station to the main building there will be sixty units along Electric Boulevard. I think the tube station is called Battersea Power Station Station which is a satisfying quirk. The photo I took (above) is where tube passengers, who have walked up Electric Boulevard, will emerge from a gorgeous set of stairs to gaze upon the mighty Power Station. For now, there are about a dozen units in the Arches behind the new Circus West Buildings, and about another dozen in the Circle West building facing the main building. To be frank, it is a bit of raggle-taggle line up, but that is all about to change. There are dentists, a VR arcade, boutique cinema, an independent grocery store, and half a dozen local London brand F&B units including Black Sheep Coffee. These early pioneers have been slowly opening and growing their trade over the last two years and the Arches does have a certain vibe developing. It will be fascinating to see how the pitch develops once the global giants of retail open in the Power Station itself.

The BPS site links to the Nine Elms US Embassy led development about 700m to the East. That linkage is not compelling yet as the joining areas are building sites. I am not convinced the linkage will ever be strong, and the Waitrose next to the embassy is too far away to pop into from the main area, leaving the M&S food hall on Electric Boulevard, I suspect, to soak up the transient/neighbourhood food spend.

For sake of FAANG completeness Amazon’s 600,000 sq. ft. offices opened back in 2017. This office is in Shoreditch or the City depending on whether you sport a tie or rock a man bun. And Netflix have 100,000 sq. ft. on Berners Street in the heart of the advertising/film/TV hub North of Oxford Street in London’s West End. We will write up these areas another time.

Blair Freebairn, CEO at Geolytix

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