Henderson Global Investors has today unveiled its proposals for Smithfield Quarter in London, regenerating the former General Market, Fish Market and Red House buildings, as well as the original engine house. Henderson has been working closely with English Heritage and the planners at the City of London Corporation on the potential options for the buildings since 2010 and the proposals will be presented to the public at an exhibition on Friday 19 October in the Goldsmiths Centre. The proposals are the result of an already very sizeable financial commitment.
The proposals, designed by John McAslan + Partners, will preserve the historic identity of the market buildings through the retention, restoration and reuse of the most significant parts of the historic buildings while bringing much-needed new investment and active, informal uses to West Smithfield and the Farringdon area in the City of London. The historic wholesale meat market does not form part of the scheme and thus is not included in the proposals.
The ground floors of the General Market, the Fish Market, the Red House and the old engine house will be put into reuse for restaurant and retail uses for local residents, workers, visitors and tourists, following extensive refurbishment and some adaption. The space will include a two part piazza (part external and part internal) within the General Market building and will be arranged to provide much needed vibrant and visually attractive activity to the neighbouring streets of all the buildings, as well as an internal focus to the ground floors of the general market and annexe, reopening the buildings to public use along a through route from Harts Corner to West Smithfield and then on to Snow Hill. The majority of the Victorian perimeter of the General Market, and the entirety of the Fish market and the old engine house, will be retained and receive much needed extensive restoration and refurbishment. The existing buildings will be enhanced with the sensitive inclusion of new low rise pavilions of office space to the central area of the General Market that will be arranged above the generously proportioned retail space set back from, and framed by, the retained Victorian buildings creating a curtilage on three sides.
In the Annex Building, the ground floor will comprise restaurant and retail units located within the retained and restored Fish Market arranged on either side of the existing passage. The underwhelming and out of context 1960’s storage area that currently sits between the Red House and the old Fish market will be replaced with new office space arranged over six upper floors that will be “contained” by the retained and restored Victorian perimeter walls of the Red House and by the newly restored Fish Market.
The former engine house will also accommodate a small retail unit on the ground floor within the restored façade, with half a storey of plant on the roof with louvre surrounds.
The design offers the sensitive integration of new space with the restored historic elements of the Victorian buildings that creates a complimentary and positive dialogue between the two.
The proposed development has very good existing transport links and is easily accessible through a number of underground, rail and bus links and is located within very close proximity to a wide range of local amenities. The nearby CrossRail station at Farringdon will open in 2018. Motorcycle and cycle parking and changing facilities will be provided.
Geoff Harris, Director of Property Development at Henderson, said: “For some time now these buildings have lacked sustainable long term use. Significant investment is needed to properly restore them and to deliver the commercial and civic space that is needed to be able to make the venture a success. This needs a creative and pragmatic approach to the challenge and we are delighted to put forward proposals that combine restoration of the original buildings with the sensitive addition of new space. We are fortunate to be working with a team of very talented and creative individuals and are delighted to have the opportunity to restore this part of West Smithfield.
“Our proposals for the revitalisation of Smithfield Quarter will enhance the public amenity, infrastructure and physical structure at the heart of Smithfield and will preserve its historic character in a modern and informal fashion. It represents a significant investment in growth and regeneration and will create a much livelier and active social and public space for Smithfield and the wider City. The retail and office space on offer will provide a significant step forward for the wider regeneration of the Farringdon area."
Kevin Lloyd, of John McAslan + Partners, said: “We are delighted to be working with Henderson to deliver their vision for Smithfield Quarter, in one of the City’s most vibrant urban areas. The scheme is of a scale which balances the character and setting of the historic market, with a high quality and complementary contemporary development.”
Henderson Global Investors