Interior view of the main mall
|Management||Metro Shopping Fund|
|Owner||Metro Shopping Fund (Land Securities & Delancey)|
|No. of stores and services||92 (of which 14 are being vacated for redevelopment into a single department store). A further 16 units are being built on the eastern facade of the centre)|
|No. of anchor tenants||5 (6 when new Debenhams built)|
|Total retail floor area||530,000 sq ft (around 700,000 when redevelopment complete)|
|No. of floors||2|
Southside opened in 1971 as the Wandsworth Arndale Centre, and was the largest of the UK-wide chain of Arndale Centres with 110 shops. It occupies much of the centre of Wandsworth, with five blocks of flats, a small office block and extensive car parking on the roof, and the River Wandle running in a tunnel underneath. It initially included a mix of shops, offices and restaurants, as well as a large hall for market traders, although the latter has since been redeveloped. At one point it also housed a large nightclub, which has since closed.
The shopping centre is anchored by a Waitrose supermarket, and large branches of TK Maxx, New Look, H&M and Primark. A large adjacent branch of Sainsbury's - part of a separate development - also acts as an anchor. The upper level contains several mainly fast food restaurants and a 14-screen Cineworld cinema. There is also a Virgin Active gym.
With 530,000 square feet (49,000 m2) of retail space, Southside remains one of London's largest shopping centres in terms of its ground floor square footage, and currently attracts around 8.5 million visitors a year. Redevelopment of the northern and eastern sections of the centre is continuing, with a £75 million project underway involving the demolition of office accommodation and the creation of a further 220,000 square feet (20,000 m2) of retail space including a new 81,880 square feet (7,607 m2) Debenhams department store, and 33,000 square feet (3,100 m2) of restaurants (including Wagamama and Cattle Grid, however the latter was replaced by Chimichanga). The residential parts of the centre have also been partly redeveloped, with construction of a new 23-storey block of flats above the centre completed in 2006.
Below are just a few of the many stores, For a full updated list visit the Store Finder
As of January 2014 ;
Argos, Caffè Nero, Carphone Warehouse, Waitrose, Cineworld, Virgin Active, Dorothy Perkins,
JD Sports, Next, New Look, Primark, Shoe Zone, Poundland, Superdrug, W H Smith
Notable former retailers include Tesco (who left in the 1980s), Sainsbury's (who moved to a far larger supermarket adjacent to the centre, and which still acts as an anchor retailer for the complex), Woolworths (in a unit facing Garratt Lane which was demolished in 2005), and Iceland (who closed in 2009 to make way for redevelopment). The centre originally included a pub, the Spotted Dog.
The site now occupied by the shopping centre was previously the Wandsworth Greyhound Stadium (which seated 20,000) and the Upper Mill (a large flour mill, damaged by fire in the 1920s and demolished in 1964). The Arndale complex was designed to be relatively self-contained, with few connections to the surrounding shopping streets other than service and delivery entrances, and value of the complex was maximised by the construction of five high-rise blocks above the main shopping area, and by building over a thousand parking spaces in multistorey car parks and on the roof. It included a health clinic and a day centre, as well as a post office. Because it was built right over the River Wandle, it was considered something of an architectural and engineering achievement. However it was not universally popular, and its large size led to it being described by some contemporary commentators as "one of London’s great architectural disasters".
Although initially successful (helped by being located at the junction of several major roads including the A3), it steadily drifted downmarket in the decades after its construction, which led to the departure of its original anchor tenants such as Sainsbury's (who later returned to the area, but in an adjacent building) and Tesco. This, coupled with increasing competition from nearby centres such as Clapham Junction, Wimbledon and Putney, led to a severe decline in the fortunes of the centre - at one stage it was said that the centre had seen the influx of so many downmarket shops that "it's become hard to buy anything at the centre for over £1".
However Wandsworth was by the 1990s seeing extensive gentrification, and it was clear that the centre was in a particularly strategic location, with a large and prosperous ABC1 population on the centre's doorstep - many of whom were choosing to shop further away. To be successful a complete relaunch would be needed.
Work therefore began to extensively refurbish and extend the complex in 2000. This included the complete demolition and reconstruction of the southern end of the structure, to add a new 957-space multistorey car park, a 14 screen Cineworld cinema, and a Food court. A large Waitrose supermarket was also built, to anchor the relaunched centre. Skylights were introduced in the main malls to make better use of natural light (a common but now outdated feature of Arndale centres had been that the walkways were deliberately kept dark, so that the lights from the shops would shine out).
This redevelopment was accompanied by construction of a 23-storey residential development at the southern end of the complex by Barratt Developments, and refurbishment of the existing towers on the roof of the main shopping area. The name of the centre was temporarily changed from Wandsworth Arndale Centre to the Wandsworth Shopping Centre, before finally being branded as Southside in 2004.
Renovation and redevelopment
Southside is now owned by Metro Shopping Fund (a partnership between Land Securities and Delancey, which owns several other London shopping centres, including the nearby ShopStop at Clapham Junction). The centre continues to be progressively redeveloped.
In February 2010, work started to redevelop the northern end of the centre, to extend the centre to 700,000 square feet (65,000 m2), creating larger retail units and an enhanced street frontage, and linking with a major retail and residential development that is scheduled to take place on an adjacent site following the departure of the Ram Brewery from Wandsworth town centre. To prepare for this development, most of the existing shops in Arndale Walk and the northern section of the centre, including a branch of the Iceland supermarket, were closed in January 2008. The smaller units were then amalgamated to provide two larger anchor stores (covering 20,000 square feet (1,900 m2) and 12,000 square feet (1,100 m2), let to TK Maxx and New Look respectively).
The current phase of the redevelopment involves the demolition and replacement of the centre's rather dilapidated eastern frontage along Garratt Lane to create 20,000 feet (6,100 m) of new shopfronts, partly aimed at strengthening the link between the centre and the adjacent Sainsbury's supermarket. Units have been pre-let to Wagamama and Cattle Grid. This will be followed by the demolition of the Arndale Walk part of the centre, to create a 67,845 square feet (6,303.0 m2) department store unit. A provisional agreement was made for the unit to be let to Marks & Spencer, however following a slowing of Marks & Spencer's store opening plans, it was announced in October 2012 that the unit was let to Debenhams.
Demolition of the Garratt Lane frontage, apart from Arndale Walk, was completed in 2009, which was followed by a two-year pause in the development. Relocation of the Wandsworth branch of Jobcentre Plus (which occupied a four-storey office building on the roof of Arndale Walk, that needed to be demolished as part of the second stage of the redevelopment) proved to be particularly controversial, with few alternative locations available, and significant opposition to the possibility of it being moved to a residential area in Southfields.
Ownership and financing
In the 1990s the centre was owned by Fordgate Wandsworth Limited, owned by Fordgate (a large property company who at the time owned similar developments including the Pallasades centre in Birmingham), and ultimately by property investors Moises and Mendi Gertner. Conscious that the value of the centre was declining, with the departure of both Sainsbury's and Tesco, and declining customer footfall, in 1993 they gained outline planning permission for a 10-screen cinema, expected to cost around £6.5m. The multiplex cinema would later become one of the first branches of Cineworld, whose owner Steve Wiener had long known Mr Gertner.
In 1998 they secured a more detailed and broad ranging planning permission for redevelopment of the entire centre. This included land exchanges with Wandsworth Council (who had a depot on part of the site), replacement of many of the retail tenants, and the development of an eight-storey hotel with a restaurant on the ground floor. Removal of the previous 'downmarket' tenants began soon afterwards, with a combination of non renewal of leases, and some tenants being paid to leave.
In 2000, before the main construction work had begun, Fordgate sold the centre to Portfolio Holdings Limited, a UK property company formed in 1993 which had concluded several town centre developments. Their majority shareholder was the Apollo organisation which managed several large property investment funds, based in the USA. They acquired the lease of the Arndale Centre for £40 million with the aim of implementing the planning consents for a multiplex cinema, health club and shopping mall upgrade, with some modifications to the detailing, particularly to the mall entrances and lighting. Their financing came from German private bank BHF Bank (who provided borrowing facilities of £55m for the acquisition and redevelopment of the centre), plus their own resources and those of their American partners Apollo Real Estate.
Portfolio used a limited partnership, Wandsworth LP, as a specific investment vehicle for the development. Wandsworth LP was effectively a joint venture between Portfolio Holdings, Apollo Real Estate Advisors and Deutsche Bank Real Estate's Global Opportunities Fund, and was used in order to meet the preference of their American shareholders for tax transparency.
Between 2000 and 2004 Wandsworth LP implemented a £75m investment in the refurbishment of the centre. The first phase was the construction of a health club on the Buckhold Road frontage (let to Virgin Active), and securing conditional agreement for a 35,000 sq ft branch of Waitrose (who signed the lease in December 2001 as the first 'new' anchor tenant, and opened in 2004). They obtained a revised planning permission in 2002 for a larger and more extensive redevelopment than the previous Fordgate Wandsworth project, which included a 36,000 sq ft branch of Primark, an increase in the size of the cinema to 16 screens, as well as the demolition and reconstruction of the southern multistorey car park, and a comprehensive refurbishment of the interior of the centre (aside from Arndale Walk, which was to be demolished in a subsequent phase), and implemented the majority of these plans over the following two years.
On 11 August 2005, Wandsworth LP sold to the centre to Metro Shopping Fund for £188 million. The Metro Shopping Fund is a 50:50 joint venture between Land Securities and Delancey, formed in 2004, which at the time also owned several other London shopping centres including the nearby ShopStop at Clapham Junction. Metro Shopping Fund continued the development of the centre, though at a slower pace, demolishing the eastern side of the old centre (facing Garratt Lane), creating a series of double-height units on the main mall (using previously derelict rooftop recreation areas) and bringing in further anchor tenants TK Maxx and New Look. Construction of a replacement frontage along Garratt Lane was put on hold, due to the economic recession, and plans were scaled down with a revised permission obtained for a smaller development that did not have flats above the retail units. On 9 December 2011, Metro Shopping Fund secured a £140 million financing facility to support the development of the first phases of the extension along Garratt Lane, from Bayerische Landesbank and Deutsche Pfandbriefbank.
- Southside Wandsworth - Welcome
- Metro Shopping Fund - MSF makes first acquisition with purchase of half a million square feet in Wandsworth
- Land Securities portfolio - - Southside Shopping Centre
- Drapers, 25 October 2012, Helen Turnbull Debenhams to open store in Wandsworth
- Wandsworth Council - case officer's report on planning application 2005/4008, Wandsworth Shopping Centre, erection of buiding [sic?] to provide 159 flats, for Planning Applications Committee of 10th November 2005
- Wandsworth Council - - Heritage Walk
- The Guardian, Christopher Middleton, Wednesday 4 April 2001 Centre shifts
- The Times, 4 August 2005 Obituaries - Arnold Hagenbach
- The Guardian - The Changing Face of Britain's Arndale Centres
- New Statesman - The secrets of indoor shopping
- Wandsworth Council - Regeneration of the Arndale Centre
- Wandsworth Guardian - £20m redevelopment of Wandsworth Shopping Centre
- Transforming Southside - Lettings and development map
- Borough of Wandsworth Planning Applications - application reference 2011/5534, Blocks A and B Southside Shopping Centre Wandsworth High Street SW18, registered 23 January 2012
- Wandsworth Guardian, 13 February 2011 - Fresh concerns over Southfields job centre
- Property Week, 16 September 2011 Welcome to my World - Steve Wiener, founder of Cineworld, the UK's largest cinema chain, reveals the secrets of his "star" system
- Paper 02-656 presented to the Wandsworth Borough Council Corporate Resources Overview and Scrutiny Committee, 22 July 2002 - Report by the Borough Valuer and Estates Surveyor on property matters associated with the Wandsworth Shopping Centre (formerly Arndale Centre), SW18 (Southfields).