Published: 13th May 2015
Transport for London (TfL) is the non-profit making massive transport organisation that literally keeps London moving. One of their revenue streams to help balance the books is making use of their property portfolio, some of which has not seen the light of day for decades. Following a property review, TfL has identified seven stations and one deep level shelter with commercial potential.
This review established that few are complete stations and no site is disused or abandoned and still interface with a live operational railway and continue to perform important operational functions such as maintenance and emergency access.
The study concluded that Down Street station had many attributes which collectively outweighed its constraints. This tube station has been disused since World War 2 when it was used by The Railway Executive and now TfL has started a commercial Tender process seeking innovative business ideas to transform the unusual below ground space.
Down Street Tube station is situated below a quiet residential street off Piccadilly in central London, hence the potential for TfL to generate income from it. It was opened as part of the Great Northern Piccadilly & Brompton Railway on 15 March 1907 and closed just 25 years later on 22 May 1932.
It was not a well-used station being very close to Hyde Park Corner and Green Park (formerly named Dover Street) tube stations.
TfL is inviting businesses to submit innovative ideas to transform the disused station into a profitable business to generate income to be invested in the transport network. There will not be many similar opportunities for companies to base themselves in central London which boasts one of the most exclusive postcodes in London.
The thinking is that the station could form the base for a high-end retail outlet or exhibition and product launch space. This is because of the limited room available but the location is a wealthy one and a secure building.
Although the station is closed to the public, it is in regular use as part of the day to day operation of the Tube. TfL is offering around 400m2 for lease but imagination will need to be used to make the most of the space which includes sections of lift shaft and tunnels.
Graeme Craig, TfL’s Director of Commercial Development
“The combination of space, history, and location, makes this a unique opportunity. We are looking for a partner with the imagination to see the potential here and the capability to deliver it.”
The station played a vital role in the Second World War when it was used as the protected underground headquarters for the Railway Executive Committee. It is believed the station was used by Sir Winston Churchill and the War Cabinet while the Cabinet War Rooms were being prepared.