The scheme comprises a commercial redevelopment of two blocks at 14-20 Regent Street and 52-56 Haymarket to create 211,000 square feet of office space and 50,000 sq ft of retail and restaurant accommodation. Under the plans, the Haymarket building will be demolished and replaced with a new eight storey office buildings. The Regent Street building will be demolished behind retained facades and an eight storey retail and office building will be constructed.
The scheme will combine 21st century architecture with preserved historic facades and a traffic free public realm, which the Crown Estate said will bring the area "back into line with the quality of historic St James's". It also comprises a number of public realms improvements, including new pedestrian and part-pedestrian areas as well as a new public square.
The officers said in their recommendation (62-page / 4.86MB PDF) that they sought the Council's planning sub-committee view as to whether provision of off-site residential accommodation rather than on-site would be acceptable.
The Council's Core Strategy sets out a requirement for any proposed office developments within its Core Central Activities Zone to match the increase in office floorspace by an equivalent amount of on-site residential floorspace where appropriate and practical. They said that, although they were "not convinced" that on-site provision was not appropriate or practical, they recognised the benefits of off-site provision in the context of the overall benefits of the scheme.
"The regeneration and enhancement of this neglected and underutilised area is welcomed, and subject to the sub-committee's views on the principle of off-site residential accommodation, approval is recommended," the report said.
The plans will be considered by the Council's planning sub-committee on 15 January. Final approval will be subject to referral to the Mayor of London.