Many Londoners already know that the new Westfield Stratford City shopping centre in Stratford, East London, opened on Tuesday 13 Sept 2011. But do we all know the little secrets behind this giant mall? Let’s look at 10 facts about Westfield Stratford City you did not know!
When Westfield bought the disused industrial land near Stratford Station in 2003 to turn it into a retail park, they had no idea that London would be awarded the 2012 Olympic Games. To everyone’s surprised, London won the bid against Paris in July 2005. Westfield then realised that the land was located between the train station and the future Olympic Park and redesigned their plans accordingly.
With 1.9 million sq ft of retail space (176 500 m), Westfield Stratford City is Biggest shopping centre in Europe. It’s the equivalent of 24 football pitches. It’s enough to offer 300 retail unit and 70 restaurants and cafés.
The Olympic site has been developed with a great deal of care to the environment. The former industrial wasteland is now packed with energy saving innovations.
Stratford City is the most energy efficient shopping centre in the UK. The new Marks & Spencer shop has been design to recycle energy and a smart floor, known as PaveGen slabs, has been installed to create energy from visitors’ footsteps. A 253,000 sq ft rainwater harvesting system has also been installed on the roof.
Westfield’s sister site in Shepherd’s Bush launched two years ago and attracted 23 million visitors in its first year. It is expected that this number will be dwarfed by Stratford City. The shopping centre is expected to turnover £850m in its first year despite the recession.
Gateway to the Olympics!
Westfield Stratford City will be the gateway to the London Olympic Park and 70% of ticket holders are expected to go through the shopping centre on their way to the Olympic Stadium and other venues on the Olympic Park.
The shopping centre is so big that it had to be given its own postcode. This is the first time that a new postcode is created in London since 1960! The new Stratford City postcode is E20 and was previously used in the popular TV soap Eastenders as the postcode for the fictitious borough of walford.
The total cost for Westfield Stratford City is a staggering £1.45bn! But the shopping centre is expected to create 10,000 new jobs in Stratford.
Westfield Stratford City will be home to the UK largest casino. The new Aspers Stratford City Casino will open in December 2011 and offer 40 gaming tables and a 150 seat poker room!
Making a splash!
While many town centres display beautiful fountains, there’s something unique about the waterfall splashing at Westfield Stratford City…it’s digital! From a distance, visitors see what looks like a vigorous flow of water. As you get closer and take a better look, you realise that the waterfall is made up of images displayed on hundreds of LCD screens. The digital fountain is the work of Jason Bruges Studio in Shoreditch.
Ice Ice Baby!
The new Westfield Stratford City is planning to open the coolest ice-rink ever for the Christmas period. The ice-rink will be open throughout December and January and create yet another attraction on top of the cinema, the bowling, the casino and the bars!
And some key figures about Westfield Stratford City
1.9million sq ft of retail and leisure space
1.1million sq ft of office space
5,000 parking spaces
10 underground, DLR or overground train lines
17 screen Vue cinema
14 lane bowling alley
Made from 40,000 tonnes of structural steel – 5.5 Eiffel Towers