Meinhardt are appointed as Building Services consultants on the scheme which is described by the developers as ‘one of the last locations’ left in London for a project of this size. The site, previously occupied by wine and whisky attraction Vinopolis and incorporating rail arches, a disused warehouse and carpark, will be transformed to create 20,000 sq. m of retail and commercial space.
The project – joint venture between Sherwood Street developers and Investment Fund manager Meyer Bergman – will involve the refurbishment of the existing Vinopolis building and the inclusion of five new buildings to provide retail use, commercial offices, a gallery and a theatre/cinema complex. Tom Sherwood, owner of Sherwood Street, aims to create a ‘Covent Garden style’ scheme where at least 60% of the retail space is reserved for smaller companies to prevent high street brands from dominating and spoiling the ‘special character’ of the area. The designs for the new buildings – Trevor Morris of SPPARC explains – are sensitive to, and are influenced by the surrounding architecture. Moreover, he aims to revive the rail arches, and reinstate the history of the area by recreating the ‘lost medieval north/south pedestrian links’ through the previously inaccessible site, creating a public yard at the centre of the scheme, and restoring original Elizabethan street names such as ‘Dirty Street’ to boot.
The project is not without its challenges: plans have already been revised to address concerns over light obstruction; the rail tracks will be required to continue operating during construction; and space limitations for vehicles has meant that the programme will be realised in three phases – demolition and piling, excavation and construction.
Meinhardt will provide Mechanical, Electrical, Public Health and Vertical Transportation services to take the project from Stage 3 (developed design) through to tender and construction.