Reflections on a positive year
Q.Are you happy with One New Change a year on? Has it been a commercial success?
A.In just 12 months, and despite tough economic conditions, One New Change is playing a leading role in transforming the City of London into a desirable weekday and weekend shopping and eating destination for Londoners and visitors to the Capital. It is a bustling social attraction open seven days a week that’s revived a historic corner of the square mile and changed the way people look at and feel about the City.
Any surprises you weren’t anticipating – e.g. shops that have done amazingly well?
Our restaurants have done incredibly well. City workers still love eating out and we are constantly on the lookout for new concepts. Jamie Oliver’s restaurant and butchers, Barbecoa, is always busy, and the opening of Gordon Ramsay’s Bread Street Kitchen last month has provided another reason for people to stay out longer during the week and come back into the City at weekends.
What niche has ONC filled in the City?
More than 300,000 people currently work in the City of London, and the area welcomes seven million visitors each year, but retail in the area had been in decline for decades. With a huge demand from both City workers and visitors for more shopping and dining options, we knew there was an opportunity to bring together a selection of the UK’s most loved brands, and celebrity restaurants all in the shadow of St Paul’s Cathedral.
Is ONC affected by the opening of Westfield Stratford?
We haven’t seen any impact. One New Change offers a completely different shopping trip to anywhere else in the capital. Very often visitors will walk along the South Bank, stopping to take in cultural attractions such as the Tate Modern or the City’s Barbican International Arts Centre, before lunch and shopping at One New Change. Our sixth floor roof terrace has also been a huge draw. Open to the public seven days a week, it offers completely new views of St Paul’s Cathedral and the London skyline and is a great place for a coffee or a glass of wine.
Are you concerned about retail patterns in a fresh wave of austerity?
People are continuing to tighten their bets, but ONC offers City workers a choice of everyday essentials and everyday treats, and we’re still welcoming a huge amount of people through our doors. Of course we’re closely watching the economy, but by offering something for every budget, we’re confident One New Change will continue to go from strength to strength.
What’s your favourite thing about ONC?
The view from the roof terrace still gives me a buzz, watching the skyline change and the domination of St Pauls.
Has the architecture been a hit?
The very influential City Planning Officer, Peter Rees, commented at launch that architectural critics attacked St Paul’s when it was built, but that he has the same hopes for One New Change. The shape of the building itself is subservient to St Paul’s, all but disappearing from view when you are just a few streets away – despite offering office and retail space covering the equivalent of 12 football pitches. Gavin Turk, one of Britain’s most celebrated sculptors, was commissioned to create a striking new art installation set into the pavement at the main entrance to One New Change, which adds to the art already on site.
Is ONC thriving as a weekend destination?
One New Change and Cheapside are now full of shoppers late into the evening during the week and at the weekends; it’s transformed this part of the Square Mile. Our City Sleepover event saw 60 urban campers sleeping in the shadow of St Paul’s Cathedral on our roof terrace this summer, and male supermodel David Gandy brought his inimitable style to One New Change when he visited us on a Sunday to sign copies of his new coffee table book by Dolce & Gabbana. These weekend events have dramatically changed the way Londoners and visitors see the City, turning it from a working place seldom visited out of hours, into a bustling social destination. The positive impact One New Change has had on the area has also prompted some of our big retail neighbours along Cheapside to open over the weekend and of course the parking is easy.
Will other people look to set up all-week retail venues in the City?
We hope that other retailers continue to follow as the City is revitalised, and that One New Change remains one of London’s most exciting and innovative destinations.
What’s your vision for the way the food and retail offerings work together?
Our vision has always been to offer something for everyone, whether you’re looking to shop or to eat. One New Change is the place to go for the latest fashions including the likes of Banana Republic, H&M, Hugo Boss, Guess, Reiss, Topshop and LK Bennett, but people also come for a blow-dry at Hershesons or to indulge themselves at one of our beauty shops. The mix of restaurants is just as varied, from Madison on the roof terrace, to Eat, Zizzi and Searcys Champagne Bar.