American group plans to transform it into "lifestyle emporium"
Hammersmith & Fulham Council has announced it has exchanged contracts for the sale of Fulham Town Hall with preferred purchaser, Dory Ventures, which plans to transform it into a "lifestyle emporium".
Dory, an American retail and leisure group, intends to convert the Grade II listed Town Hall into a shopping arcade which it hopes will draw in visitors from all over London and beyond.
The emporium will include the flagship store for Maclaren, known for their buggies and quality children’s products.
This will be accompanied by high quality, boutique shops that will showcase the smaller retailer, including "gentleman accessories" specialist Albert Thurston, plus a restaurant.
The upper floors will be extended and converted to provide 20 new residential units.
The council selected Dory Ventures as its preferred purchaser in February 2012 following a comprehensive selection process, adding that over the past year, Dory has been meticulously surveying the intricate Grade II Listed building and indexing all of the artefacts contained within it.
English Heritage and the council’s conservation team and architects have also been engaged in detailed discussions with Dory over specific aspects of the proposed conversion. Dory will be continuing with its detailed design work and English Heritage consultation ahead of the planning application.
Hammersmith & Fulham is only four miles in length but up until last year had two, fully functioning, Town Halls. In February 2011, the council therefore chose to sell Fulham Town Hall as part of its commitment to prioritise frontline services ahead of underused buildings, in order to reduce its historic debt.
Leader of the Council Cllr Nicholas Botterill, says: "This exciting and innovative scheme will provide Fulham Town Hall with a new lease of life and reinvigorate Fulham as one of the capital’s premier shopping destinations.
In order to respect the iconic Town Hall’s heritage and ensure ongoing public access to the building, Dory proposes to maintain the former Council Chamber as an "educational bar". Here, Fulham residents will be able to take part in public interest and safety demonstrations of Maclaren products, and the space will also be made available for community events and lectures – opening the doors of the refurbished Town Hall even wider to the Fulham community.
To provide a "sense of place" for Fulham residents, within the central core of the retail arcade would be a wi-fi enabled "hub" café set in natural light from a new glass atrium. .
In order to proceed with the sale of the building, Dory Ventures must first acquire planning permission and Listed Building Consent.
The council expects a planning application to be submitted and considered in 2014, with the sale likely to be completed in 2015.
May 20, 2013