Nightclub group Ministry of Sound said this morning it plans to convert a former House of Fraser store in west London to hold ‘fitness raves’ for Londoners.
The building will also be turned into flexible offices, a gym as well as a rooftop bar.
The group said it plans to start converting the 115,000 sq ft department store at the end of August, with both the Ministry of Sound group and Westfield pumping in “tens of millions of pounds”, according to The Guardian.
Upon completion, the group plans to hold ‘fitness raves’, according Lohan Presencer, the chair of Ministry of Sound Group, which aims to welcome around 4,000 visitors each day once the facility is up and running.
Other activities in the converted building will include conferences, product launches, parties, receptions as well as hot desking.
“We are building a genuine community and it is proving increasingly popular,” Presencer explained.
“Who wants to go into a boring office? People want something that brings people together and gives them a reason to come back.”Lohan Presencer
taking the number of House of Fraser stores closed since the group was bought by Mike Ashley’s retail empire in 2018 to more than 20.
Scott Parsons, the UK chief operating officer of Westfield’s parent group, added: “Repurposing of retail space is a good thing. With a shopping centre the size of Westfield London we will have a critical mass of leisure, retail and food and beverage and we are adding to the mix by repurposing space.”
“The 2,000 people working in the co-working space at Ministry will be adding to the footfall and sales at Westfield and those people will have hundreds of shops [and] a leisure offer right on their doorstep,” he concluded.
Discussing the new project with City A.M., Jocelyn Paulley head of retail at the law firm Gowling WLG, said: “This is a classic example of re-inventing retail space as leisure or ‘experience’ space, but with a new twist of adding in office space.”
She added: Now that hybrid working is prevalent after the pandemic, the close proximity of office space to useful leisure activities could be a key draw for employers in persuading their work-force of the benefits of travelling into the office”