Victoria is now in a state of transition, rapidly moving away from its nondescript past and hurtling into an exciting future. As development works intensify, the fate of this ambiguous London district can be seen baring its head in the shadows, but what form it will take is as of yet uncertain. Land securities progressive work transforming the area is far from over, but their vision for a stylish Victoria is already beginning to materialise.
Yet despite all this effort it seems unclear whether Victoria will be able to shake preconceptions that it is, well, still a bit dull. Do old habits die hard? Or does Victoria now have enough ammo to curb this mistaken belief and begin attracting the businesses of the future? It’s hard to say whether the perception of Victoria will change fully, but there’s clear evidence that Victoria has every chance to become a respected destination in its own right.
Due to its proximity with Westminster, Victoria has been the natural stomping ground for government agencies and Civil servants, earning the nickname the Government and God quarter. This image was first challenged in 2014 with the invasion of some of the world’s most famous fashion labels including Jimmy Choo, Burberry, Tom Ford and Giorgio Armani. With government departments moving away, there is now the chance for a new breed of business to breathe fresh life into Victoria.
In theory, Victoria has everything needed to be a powerhouse of a market and so it’s a wonder it doesn’t have the allure that befalls its neighbours. Victoria offers better value for money than Mayfair and Soho and its rents are half the price of Knightsbridge. Victoria already has the building blocks to house the latest tech, media and creative companies and we feel it has the potential to provide the perfect infrastructure for the growth of these businesses.
So what does Victoria offer creative industries?
First and foremost, Victoria has excellent connections. For startups, this can be of vital importance during their early growth. Victoria Station, currently undergoing a substantial facelift, is one of London’s busiest transport hubs and benefits from direct links to Gatwick and an international coach station. Media and tech companies are often entertaining guests or trying to impress investors, so being close to major transport links will certainly come in handy.
Since the completion of Cardinal Place in 2006, Victoria has seen an injection of modern, well equipped office space with state of the art facilities. Buildings such as 62 Buckingham Gate, The Nova building and the Zig-Zag building have completely changed the face of Victoria. Coworking spaces such as Uber office and Le Bureau are also positive signs, showing Victoria can provide the type of creative workspaces that are often sought out by emerging businesses.
Victoria has also improved in terms of amenities, with more reasons than ever to come to the area. As well as the numerous green spaces, Victoria has theatres, a restaurant district and even a few artisan coffee shops. Ruth Duston, who was part of the Victoria Vibrancy report two years ago, said that by 2016 “people will start to see a real transformation, a noticeable difference” and so it looks like there is no time like the present to be getting excited about Victoria.