The opening date was officially announced in front of the power station by a group of newspaper boys and girls dressed in 1930s attire, a nod to when the building first began generating electricity back in 1933.
In addition, the group helped spread the news to the capital throughout the day by handing out a limited-edition newspaper, Power Station Post.
Much like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, ten golden tickets were hidden within the newspapers. If found, the golden ticket holder will be amongst the first to walk into the Grade II* listed building when it opens its doors.
Keeping with the Roald Dahl theme, the ticket holder will also win two tickets to LIFT 109, a glass elevator experience which transports visitors 109 metres up to the top of the building’s north-west chimney, providing panoramic views of the city’s skyline.
What’s the story?
Once supplying a fifth of London’s electricity at its peak, Battersea Power Station was decommissioned in 1983 and left derelict and without use for a number of years, becoming better known for its starring role in films and on the cover of albums and its impressive chimneyed structure than anything it produced.
Following its decommissioning, a number of failed attempts were made to redevelop the site, including proposals for a theme park, a football stadium, a giant shopping centre and a chimney-top restaurant. None of these came to anything.
Irish firm Real Estate Opportunities (REO) then had plans to transform the site for public use and new homes, but these were thwarted by the global financial crisis of 2007-8. The site was put up for sale again in 2011, but remained a risky investment thanks to a large amount of existing debt and the obligation to make a contribution to the planned Northern Line extension.
Since 2012, the building has been under the custodianship of the current shareholders, Sime Darby Property, S P Setia and the Employees’ Provident Fund (EPF). Over the last decade, the Grade II* listed building has been painstakingly restored to its former glory. PNB and EPF became the long-term commercial asset holders in 2019 in an attempt to secure the future of the landmark for many generations to come.
What does it include?
Nearly 40 years after Battersea Power Station’s lights were turned off for the final time, this former titan of industry is back with plans to become one of the capital’s most exciting leisure and retail destinations.
The Power Station’s two newly restored, historic Turbine Halls will be home to the building’s retail offering, where shoppers will discover a range of British and international brands. Some of the first to open in October will include Hugo Boss, Theory, Lacoste, Ralph Lauren, Aesop, Space NK, Ace + Tate, lululemon, Mulberry, Jo Malone London, Uniqlo, Mango and a new neighbourhood bookstore, Battersea Bookshop, from specialist bookseller Stanfords. In the lead-up to the grand opening, further brands are set to be announced.
The building is also aiming to appeal to London’s growing foodie population, with the Boiler House at the heart of the building playing host to the recently announced 24,000 sq. ft Arcade Food Hall from JKS Restaurants, which will open next year.
A huge number of other food and beverage venues will also be calling Battersea Power Station home, including Le Bab, Where The Pancakes Are, Poke House, Clean Kitchen Club, Gordon Ramsay’s Bread Street Kitchen & Bar and Paris Baguette.
These will join the mix of bars and restaurants that opened as part of the first phase of Battersea Power Station’s regeneration, in Circus West Village, which includes Sugen Gopal’s Roti King, Tapas Brindisa, Wright Brothers, Vagabond Wines, and Megan’s at the Power Station.
Meanwhile, the station’s two Control Rooms – which once managed the distribution of power from Carnaby Street to Wimbledon, and even powered Buckingham Palace and the Houses of Parliament – have also been lovingly restored, with Control Room A set to become a ‘unique events space’ while Control Room B has been turned into a new all-day bar concept. This will enable people to get up close and personal with the Control Room’s original dials and controls.
The Power Station is also aiming to become a major entertainment and leisure venue, perhaps in an attempt to mimic the success of the O2 Arena. This will include The Cinema at the Power Station, a sister site to the already existing The Cinema in the Arches, situated under the railway arches in Circus West Village. The cinema is set to play host to a private members club alongside showing the latest blockbusters on state-of-the-art screens.
The area’s new high street, Electric Boulevard, also offers a mix of bars and restaurants, as well as office space, shops, a park, a community hub and a new 164 room hotel from art’otel, the brand’s first in the UK. The likes of ZARA, a new-concept M&S Foodhall and a 28,000 sq. ft club from London fitness brand, Third Space, will be opening on this street.
In total, more than 2,500 new jobs are set to be created once the doors to the Power Station open, with around 17,000 jobs once the whole 42-acre project has reached its conclusion.
The Northern Line extension to Nine Elms and Battersea Power Station, which opened earlier this year, also provides the riverside neighbourhood with its own Zone 1 London Underground Station and makes a previously difficult location to access much easier.
For residents and potential investors, it means the West End and the City are now reachable within 15 minutes. The ultimate goal is for the neighbourhood to become of London’s most visited destinations.
Until now, despite parts of the regeneration scheme being completed, the area has perhaps struggled to create same buzz and sense of community that other major regeneration schemes have achieved more successfully. But the opening of the station itself is likely to be a game-changer for the area, bringing huge numbers of visitors and tourists.
“It has taken a lot of hard work, determination, and the continued commitment of the Malaysian Shareholders over the past ten years to bring Battersea Power Station back to its former glory,” Simon Murphy, chief executive officer at Battersea Power Station Development Company (BPSDC), said.
“Announcing that we will be opening the building to the public for the first time in history in just over a month’s time is a monumental moment for the project. We can’t wait to welcome the first visitors, and show the local community, Londoners, and the rest of the world, the historic beauty of the Grade II* listed building, which has been transformed into London’s most unique destination for all to enjoy.”
We previously explored the transformation of Battersea Power Station in more detail as part of our London regeneration series in 2019.