Television viewers addicted to Strike’s latest series will have seen the fictional detective lurking in his haunts on Denmark Street, a small, colorful passage along London’s Charing Cross.
Cormoran Strike has its office and home above 12 Bar Club, a legendary venue where artists such as Jeff Buckley, The Libertines and the young Adele have performed.
In real life, the 12 Bar has been boarded up for five years. And Denmark Street, which includes Elton John, the Kinks and the Rolling Stones, is much loved by music lovers, although even the most ardent fan would admit it has seen better days.
Philip Bourchier O’Ferrall, Chief Exec of media company Outernet Global, has outlined plans to restore London’s Denmark Street (pictured) known as the Capitals ‘Tin Pan Alley’
Under bold £ 1 billion plans to restore the Tin Pan Alley in London and its environs, Philip Bourchier O’Ferrall, the CEO of media company Outernet Global, has vowed to bring back the 12 Bar Club. He is equally determined that Covid-19 will not get in the way of his grand vision.
‘There are not many people on the street, but it is a great atmosphere in Soho, everyone is seated at nice tables. It is less dingy and more organized, ‘he says.
He expects his project to be operational by the middle of next year, adding: “I’ve been dealing with Ebola, ash clouds, terrorism and epidemics. We have to get back to people who are going out again. ‘
Tune in: The fictional detective Cormoran Strike lives and works on Denmark St on the hit TV show Strike
Outernet Global is partnering with real estate company Consolidated Developments, run by low-profile entrepreneur Laurence Kirschel, on the plan at St Giles Circus in the West End.
Consolidated’s other projects include the Soho Hotel, built on a dilapidated parking lot, the Soho Lofts and 100 Wardour Street apartment building, the restaurant and club.
The latest development is being built by construction giant Skanska. It includes a gallery, shops, offices and apartments.
An underground music venue with a capacity of 2,000 seats, the first to be built on such a scale in London since 1940, the boutique hotel Chateau Denmark and a pro-bono recording studio for young artists are in trouble.
At Chateau Denmark, which kicks off next year, the line-up is ideal for visiting musicians worried about the virus because “everything is digital,” says O’Ferrall.
“You download the app to get into your room and it’s Covid safe,” he says.
The centerpiece of the development will be a cube structure at Tottenham Court Road Tube Station, with 23,000 square meters of LED screens, the largest such display in the world.
They display compelling ads and other content that will change throughout the day and night.
Isn’t he worried about the pandemic that is driving people out of central London? And hasn’t social distance stopped the construction?
Legendary: The 12 Bar Club, where artists like Jeff Buckley, The Libertines and young Adele have performed, has been boarded up for five years
He says, ‘Skanska has set up a Covid-friendly construction operation. It has increased costs, but not much.
‘After Covid, we will have a very inclusive environment. We start at 11 am for tourists and families, they can arrive and meet in a safe place.
‘During lunch there is content aimed at the London worker. Then in the evening we focus on theatergoers and nightlife.
‘We are lucky because we were in the development phase, so we did not suffer any major losses from people staying in lockdown. The biggest problem would be if you were an established location.
‘Of course you have to adapt. If we were open we wouldn’t want to fill a room with 2,000 people, we would have a lot less. However, it will get better over time. We will use technology to provide an extra level of protection for anyone passing through our space.
‘I’m actually worried that too many people are coming. A slow return is what we need. ‘
The scheme also includes the renovation of Denmark Street itself.
A number of Grade II listed buildings will be restored, including some historic buildings that predate the Great Fire of London in 1666.
The leases will stipulate that the music stores on the street must continue that trade, so there is no risk of them turning into chains and destroying its character.
As for the 12 Bar Club, part of the famous location was in a 300 year old building that had served as a stables and blacksmith shop in the past.
Futuristic: What the Revamped Saint Giles Circus Area Will Look Like
During construction, it had to be moved temporarily in order to dig. The building was placed on a concrete raft, pushed out of the way, and then returned to its original position by a 750-ton crane, in a maneuver described by an executive as ‘engineering porn’.
Even if you’re not really into cranes and beams, look up the YouTube video – it’s great. Once opened, the revamped 12 Bar Club will be one of two smaller music venues operating next to the large new auditorium.
About 1,000 people work on the project, including 350 construction professionals. Financial support comes from the American private equity firm Blackstone.
‘We don’t have nervous investors. We have a loan through Blackstone and they are looking at the long term, ”says O’Ferrall.
He hopes the development in London will be a template for similar projects abroad, including in Los Angeles, New York, Berlin and Dubai.
“We have a number of locations that we are negotiating about.”
Ten percent of the profits go to charity, including aid to the homeless.
‘We want to do our bit by giving people the confidence to be back in London. The government must come up with some wonderful examples of how to get people back to work. A bit more like Churchill’s spirit, ‘he says.
‘Human emotion is even more important than economics. We need more positive thinking. ‘
Traditionalists can shrink from the changes in a part of the capital so steeped in history.
But the area has been neglected and if successful, the development will breathe new life and energy, along with a much-needed infusion of cash to boost London’s battered economy.
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