Development plans for the Toys R Us site in Southampton have been revealed and if approved by members of Southampton City Council (SCC), will commence with shops, restaurants, 275 appartments in three buildings and a 70,000 sq.ft. office building opposite Southampton Central Station.
Altogether, the three-phase project could exceed £150 million with £27 million on the office building to create a ‘valuable revenue stream from rental income and business rates‘ and ‘underpin Southampton’s ambitions as a thriving urban centre’ in Phase One of the plans.
Other plans of Phase One include a ‘new Maritime Promenade’ which aims to link Central Station past West Quay to the water-front near Mayflower Park, otherwise known as Mayflower Quarter. This pedestrian street will include small public spaces and be flanked by shops, cafes and bars.
The SCC hopes the project will act as a ‘catalyst’ for further investment in Mayflower Quarter, ‘underlining Southampton’s presence on the global stage’.
Cllr Christopher Hammond, council leader at SCC, said
The old Toys’r’us site is the first phase of improving this important gateway into the city. We’re excited to bring these transformative plans to full council to enable 275 new homes and an iconic new office building that meets the highest environmental standards. The council will be an active partner to help provide an economic boost for the city and to create new skilled jobs for our citizens.
However, there were concerns surrounding the multi-million project from Giles Semper, executive director of Go!Southampton, the Business Improvement District (BID) for the city centre. Whilst praising the development of office spaces, he explained his ‘concerns that the focus on this site will be on residential’.
This would position Southampton as a ‘dormitory’ city, simply providing accommodation for commuters to London. Our fear is that once the initial portion of office space is delivered, the rest of the site will be residential. Our concern is that the amount of office space in phases two and three is vague in the extreme and will be determined by ‘market demand’.”
He added that more offices are needed to create a Central Business District and that the SCC will never get the opportunity to do so again.
Cllr Hammond said that more office space will be included in Phases Two and Three.