By Linus Rees
The office developer Derwent London has submitted plans to Camden Council to part-demolish and redevelop the Saatchi & Saatchi building on Charlotte Street in Fitzrovia. The current lease on the building expires in March 2013 and Derwent London want to start work as soon as they re-acquire the building. The building works are due to be completed by 2015.
The planning application was registered with Camden Council on 21 January and Camden’s development control committee will make a decision on the proposals later this year. The site is bounded by Chitty Street, Charlotte Street, Howland Street and Whitfield Street.
Saatchi & Saatchi have occupied the building at 80 Charlotte Street since the mid-1970s. Other advertising and marketing organisations including Starcom MediaVest Group and Target Media who occupy offices in Howland Street and Whitfield Street will also have to move out in 2013.
The proposals also includes demolition of part of Charlotte Mews and part of the corner of Chitty Street and Whitfield Street. Derwent London have invited residents to an exhibition at their Fitzrovia Gallery in Whitfield Street to view the details of their plans.
The planning application includes proposals for offices, residential, retail, restaurants and cafes. There is also a plan for a “pocket park” in Chitty Street.
Although Derwent London specialise in office refurbishment, they are increasingly looking to develop retail and dining establishments in Fitzrovia. The planning application for the Saatchi building includes permission for restaurants. This will turn a quite subdued and attractive area of London with a strong sense of community into a more intense commercial district. The tiny pocket park they are proposing will do little to offset the more than 50 percent increase in density of the current site. Critics see this as very much an over-development of the site. The company is also backing the creation of a business improvement district (BID) in Fitzrovia — a public-private partnership with Camden Council.
The £100m redevelopment will mean hundreds of media, advertising and marketing staff will leave the Charlotte Street and Whitfield Street premises. The Telegraph reported that Saatchi & Saatchi could be offered new premises in another site owned by Derwent London.
Public Exhibition: 4pm to 7pm, Thursday, 10 February 2011, Fitzrovia Exhibition Gallery, 43 Whitfield Street W1
Derwent London development pipeline: 80 Charlotte Street W1