The first phase of a dynamic proposed mixed use development for the Toys R Us site was approved by Southampton City Council on 18 September 2019. This comprehensive regeneration project will commence with 275 residential units in three buildings and a new 70,000 sq ft landmark office building, directly opposite Southampton Central Station.
The construction value of Phase 1 will be around £75m and will contribute towards the need for more homes and also the shortage of top quality city centre office space, helping to meet identified occupier demand. The planned office building design will incorporate a business lounge off the reception area and opportunities for flexible co-working space on the lower floors, that occupiers can use alongside their office spaces.
Phase 1 will support the rest of the city centre offering, providing employment opportunities and modern urban living spaces, perfect for those working in the businesses that will be attracted to Southampton, and also supporting the City’s wider retail, hospitality and cultural offering.
The completed office building will see around £27m investment in the development from the council, creating a valuable revenue stream from rental income and business rates. The completed asset may be held in the council’s commercial property portfolio or sold on, with the capital then freed up for use on other projects. The council is proposing to invest in the office space to demonstrate the importance and viability of new office accommodation in the City Centre, to underpin Southampton’s ambitions as a thriving urban centre with global strengths in marine, maritime, digital and environmental innovation.
The total end value of all phases in the completed Toys R Us development site area could exceed £150m. In addition to the initial phase of residential and office provision, there are future plans for further office, commercial and leisure space.
The first section of a new Maritime Promenade will also be delivered as part of Phase 1 providing a major boost to the public realm South of Central station. The promenade will eventually link Central Station past West Quay and down to the water-front near Mayflower Park – an area known as the Mayflower Quarter. This pedestrian friendly promenade will incorporate small public squares and be flanked by shops, cafes and bars, generating street level activity and greatly enhancing the experience for people using this busy route between the station and city centre.
The development scheme will also act as a catalyst for further investment in the Mayflower Quarter, which is one of the largest urban regeneration areas in the UK, underlining Southampton’s presence on the global stage. Once completed this prime waterfront area will showcase the city to residents and visitors.
Councillor Christopher Hammond, Leader of Southampton City Council, said: "The old Toys R Us site is the first phase of improving this important gateway into the city. We’re excited to bring these transformative plans to full council to enable 275 new homes and an iconic new office building that meets the highest environmental standards. The council will be an active partner to help provide an economic boost for the city and to create new skilled jobs for our citizens."
“Southampton needs world class public realm and to open up more of its waterfront for our residents and visitors to enjoy. The Mayflower Quarter gives us a unique opportunity as one of the largest urban regeneration sites in the UK.