Network Rail today completed the leasehold purchase of the 83,000 sq ft Victoria Place shopping centre at Victoria station in London.
The transaction sees ownership of the shopping centre passed over from William Ewart for £91.8m.
The new space made available through the purchase will enable Network Rail to reduce congestion in the station by reconfiguring retail space and linking through to the shopping centre, while enhancing the retail offer with new shops, restaurants and bars.
The purchase forms part of Network Rail’s strategy to enhance the passenger experience through the creation of destination stations, growing the overall retail space and increasing revenue to reinvest in the railway.
The shopping centre lies directly above Victoria station of which Network Rail already owns the freehold. There currently is retailing over three levels with 35 units and 11 permanent kiosks anchored by Sainsbury’s, with a mix of casual dining, fashion and convenience brands.
Mike Goggin, Network Rail’s director of stations and customer service, said: “Over 70m passengers rely on Victoria station for their journeys every year, making it one of the busiest stations in Britain. With this number of passengers the station can become very busy, particularly at peak times.
“The purchase of Victoria Place shopping centre will allow us, in due course, to reconfigure the current concourse to give passengers more space to move around, whilst at the same time continuing to provide the wide range of retail facilities people rely on at busy mainline stations.”
David Biggs, Network Rail’s director of property, said: “Network Rail’s purchase of Victoria Place shopping centre is great news for passengers, great news for our retail partners and great news for the station. It’s one of the first steps to deliver our vision of creating destination stations where travellers, shoppers and families can enjoy unique retail experiences in exciting contemporary surroundings fit for today’s demanding customers and rail passengers.”
“Retail in stations continues to go from strength to strength. Our sales results consistently show growth levels well above the high street. We have the essential locations and high customer traffic to help brands perform to their full potential.”
All profit from Network Rail’s retail activity is re-invested in the railway, limiting the cost to tax payers and passengers.