Redevelopment plans unveiled for iconic Heal’s building in central London

Redevelopment plans unveiled for iconic Heal’s building in central Londononic Heal’s building on Tottenham Court Road

KKR and real estate developer General Projects have unveiled redevelopment plans for the Heal’s building on Tottenham Court Road, London.

General Projects, in conjunction with KKR, will transform the location into a mixed-use space that preserves the iconic heritage of the building that KKR and General Partners acquired in 2021.

As part of the redevelopment, Heal’s has signed a new 20-year lease and will continue to reside in a newly designed retail space.

The reconfiguration of space will result in Heal’s occupying the entirety of the building’s ground and lower ground retail space with a new fit-out, in a move that intends to reinstate its street presence as a significant destination in the West End’s design and furniture district.

General Projects, in conjunction with KKR, intends to transform the upper parts of the former department store into new contemporary workspaces.

”The development will be rebranded as The Manufactory, in a nod to the building’s industrial heritage, with plans to bring a new lease of life to the Grade II Listed former factory in which Heal’s originally designed, manufactured, sold and dispatched its furniture,” said KKR in a statement.

”The Manufactory will combine a sensitive restoration of the building with creative reuse. A commercial-led solution aims to maintain a re-focussed and revitalised retail presence whilst creating a new home for the area’s creative and tech businesses, continuing the location’s legacy of innovation from the past two centuries.”

The new unique, design-led workspaces will be brought to life by architectural firm, Buckley Gray Yeoman. The project is the latest collaboration between the developer and architect, who bring a wealth of expertise in sustainability-driven retrofit development, having recently completed Technique, a timber-led reinvention of a former gin distillery in Clerkenwell.

A key feature of the redevelopment will be the transformation of the 200-year-old dispatch area for Heal’s into a new entrance, fronted by a street level café and bar. Positioned around The Manufactory entrance and overlooked by the building that once housed Ambrose Heal’s cabinet works, this repurposing of the current Heal’s loading bay area will open up Alfred Mews to the public, creating a vibrant new pedestrian street and public offering to the neighbourhood.

The reinvention of the Heal’s building into a mixed-use space will be underpinned by exceptional design quality. 3.2 metre ceiling heights throughout the development and fully refurbished CAT A and accessible raised floors will create a series of spacious, light-filled studios. Intended to foster collaboration and creativity, workspaces will be designed for flexibility and adaptability, with hybrid spaces that occupiers can configure according to their specific demands and communal breakout spaces available for use by the office community. Original details, such as the development’s internal street running between the Torrington Place and Alfred Mews entrances, will be restored to create a series of new hospitality-led receptions and made accessible for the first time.

Home to iconic British design for over 200 years, the Heal’s building evolved from a furniture factory to Tottenham Court Road’s landmark department store and one of the West End’s most recognisable buildings, designed by Cecil Brewer and completed in 1917.

General Projects, in conjunction with KKR, intends to sensitively reinvent the building, retaining the iconic Heal’s façade and details including the renowned ‘sign of the four poster’ emblems.

The new Manufactory campus consists of eight adjoining but distinctive buildings, each with its own character, which will be restored and remastered to form a collection of unique workspaces rich with history and repurposed for commercial use. At the heart of the Campus sits the iconic Heal’s department store itself.

Wellbeing is at the core of the reinvention plans. Workspaces are intended to benefit from best-in-class tenant amenities, including high-speed internet, modern, environmentally conscious heating and cooling, and energy efficient services. An internal landscaped courtyard, secluded between the development’s inner buildings, will act as a relaxed gathering area and communal space for the future community of The Manufactory, and biophilia is incorporated throughout the designs to support health and wellbeing.

The redevelopment will target EPC B & BREEAM very good, the highest possible ratings for Grade II* listed buildings. Once operational, the development is intended to be 100% powered by renewable resources.

Works on the building have already begun, with an initial 35,000 sqft of office space set to complete in the coming weeks, whilst a further 30,000 sqft of office space set to be available in 2023 following the relocation of Heals’.

Jacob Loftus, CEO and Founder of General Projects, said: “The Heal’s building is an iconic feature in London’s West End. From the very start we were committed to a collaboration with Heal’s to design and deliver an exemplary new store to ensure the brand’s long-term future in the building.

Whilst Heal’s will remain the heart of the building, over 140,000 sq ft of creative led workspace will be delivered within the eight buildings that make up the estate. Rebranding the project as The Manufactory reflects our vision to celebrate the rich history and heritage of the building whilst creating a modern, inspiring new urban campus for businesses seeking innovative space. The development is intended to be an exemplar of how adaptive re-use can serve the dual purposes of delivering best in class, design-led, sustainable buildings whilst respecting and enhancing iconic heritage assets.”

Hamish Mansbridge, CEO of Heal’s, said: “Heal’s has been a landmark on Tottenham Court Road for more than 200 years, and is a vital piece of the history of the area. This is an opportunity for us to revitalise our flagship store, reinstating our street presence with a new, contemporary fit out, and securing an exciting future for the brand in the building in which it was founded.” 

Nicky Barker, Head of Asset Management, at KKR Europe Real Estate said: “Our investment in the Heal’s Building reinforces our conviction that high quality London office space, in prime locations, has excellent fundamentals. We are delighted to be working with the team at General Projects as we thoughtfully reimagine the space in this Central London landmark to include high quality office space, while investing in the building to introduce excellent environmental credentials. ”

KKR’s original investment in the Heal’s building was made via KKR European Real Estate Partners Europe II (REPE II).