Work is beginning on London's iconic Centre Point Tower today in the hope of creating a swanky new retail and restaurant destination in the heart of the capital.
The 1960s skyscraper, owned by investment company Almacantar, will be home to 82 luxury apartments as well as new retail and restaurant space. A new public piazza at its base will be complete with an open-air terrace will overlook New Oxford Street.
So as not to offend the public's aesthetic sensibilities the Grade II listed building will be wrapped in prints designed by Eley Kishimoto. The designs are intended to capture the architectural spirit of the 1960s.
An adjoining Centre Point House will also play host to 13 affordable homes. As well as improvements to the tower itself, there will be an additional 41,780 square feet of new retail space.
Shops and restaurants will be built inside the walkway connecting Centre Point tower and Centre Point House. Pedestrians will be able to walk the route to Covent Garden.
So named because of its location, Centre Point sits on the intersections of of Soho, Covent Garden, Bloomsbury and Fitzrovia. Built in 1966 and designed by George Marsh it received a barrage of criticism for remaining empty for years on end and came to be seen as something of a white elephant.
Kathrin Hersel, development director at Almacantar, said:
The start of construction at Centre Point is a pivotal moment for a scheme which has been more than three years in the making. The project will breathe new life into this landmark, giving it a sustainable and exciting future for the benefit of all Londoners and visitors to the capital.
The two-and-a-half-year build programme will come to fruition in time for the arrival of the new Crossrail station at Tottenham Court Road and we are delighted to be able to play an important role in accelerating the rebirth of this central London hub
The contractor Brookfield Multiplex is expected to finish the work in the second quarter of 2017.