China town is getting a revamp - and it's going to become less Chinese.
Speaking to City A.M., the chief executive of Shaftesbury - which owns 3.2 acres of land in Chinatown - said there are too many Cantonese restaurants in China town, and he hopes to attract more varied set of restaurateurs to the heart of London.
"We're on a mission to bring more variety to China town - make it more pan-Asian," CEO Brian Bickell said. "But we probably couldn't think of a new name for it."
Some restaurants are also finding it difficult to bring in chefs from mainland China because of the government's point-based immigration system, Bickell said.
Shaftesbury is undertaking a major redevelopment scheme in area, and is talking to restaurateurs in Asia about setting up shop in the UK for the first time. Bicknell says the company is seeking out new dining brands and concepts from overseas, and wants to steer clear of the big chains that can be found on every high street in the UK.
The development, anticipated to finish mid-2017, will open up 32,000 sq ft of retail space on Charing Cross Road and 13,500 sq ft of restaurant space facing Newport Place and Newport Court - which will become part-pedestrianised. The £14.6m scheme will benefit from the Crossrail station opening on Tottenham Court Road.