IADS Exclusive: Is Battersea Power Station just another shopping centre?

IADS Exclusive January 2023 Christine Montard

Every Baby Boomer knows the building thanks to the internationally famous cover of the Pink Floyd album, Animals. However, there are now high chances that every Gen Z and Gen Alpha also discover this iconic location, but for entirely different reasons.

Built between the ‘30s and ’50s, Battersea Power Station, located in South West London, once supplied a fifth of London’s electricity. It was decommissioned in 1983 and remained dormant for years. Finally, in 2012, the building was sold for £1.9 billion. A £5 billion investment arrived from Malaysia to start redevelopment plans (it is said to have reached £9 billion in the end). The list of investors included PNB (one of the largest banks in India), Sime Darby Property, SP Setia (both Malaysian real estate companies), and Malaysia’s Employees’ Provident Fund.

As is often the case in such commercial development, investors had to contribute to more than the mall itself and had to fund a part of the subway station, the residential scheme surrounding the shopping centre and the ‘Electric Boulevard’ construction (one of the nearby streets). Redevelopment officially began in 2014 to open on 14 October 2022 with half of the commercial units having tenants (Covid delayed the opening from 2020 to 2022).

Following the 2023 IADS General Assembly held in London in November 2023, the IADS team had a chance to visit the premises. Now that the mixed-use project is almost completed and all units have tenants, is Battersea Power Station just another shopping centre or is there more to it? Most importantly, is it viable in the long term? What can department stores learn from this one-of-a-kind venture?

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