Why all eyes are on Midtown, the super-hot London area attracting big names and multi-millions

Sophie Hobson

Midtown Community Kitchen

As a £15m injection to boost development further is announced, we look at the area that Google, Warner Brothers and Mitsubishi call home

This article is brought to you in partnership with inmidtown

Midtown, the area of London spanning Bloomsbury, Holborn and St Giles, has seen a complete transformation in recent years.

Once upon a time, it was little more than a throughway between the City and the West End, a sort of anonymous huddle of drab buildings that lacked the soul and identity that makes other pockets of London so special.

But that’s all changed (thanks in large part to an organisation we’ll tell you about in a minute).

Today, Midtown blossoms with its own distinctive micro-climate, benefitting in recent years from a series of major development projects, such as the £350m development of Centre Point and the £22m Africa House.

Attracting the best in business

Midtown has attracted some of the world’s brightest business names, as well as a teeming crop of innovative young start-ups from all walks of life.

Talk a stroll through the area and you’ll pass the offices of Google and Yahoo!, standing shoulder to shoulder with legal stalwarts such as Olswang and Mischon de Reya, not to mention industry stars such as BUPA, Grange Hotels and Mitsubishi.

Midtown businesses - logos

There’s clusters of creativity too, in the guise of fast-growing SMEs and the don-like presences of Warner Brothers, Mindshare and MediaCom.

Then of course there’s that bastion of British culture, The British Museum.

New faces on the scene to look out for (as a visitor or a local) include the uber-cool Hoxton Holborn hotel and restaurant, and the £85m refurbishment of the plush Rosewood Hotel.

Game-changing infrastructure injections

It is transport connections and investment that look set to truly cement Midtown’s future as a superstar London area.

Crossrail will be running straight through the area, thanks to connections at Tottenham Court Road and Farringdon.

These connections will bring with them an additional 98 million people, according to ARUP research from 2014.

Crossrail map - cropped - 466

Holborn Tube station is also undergoing a £250m+ modernisation and expects to see 50% more visitors by 2031.

As Sir Peter Hendy, transport commissioner of Transport for London, said: “The Midtown area is about to become connected as never before. Crossrail will bring hundreds of thousands more people to the area, with TfL-run Crossrail stations bookending the district at Tottenham Court Road and Farringdon.”

It’s little wonder that The Mayor’s Plan has highlighted Midtown as a London area of growth over the next two decades.

And guess what? Midtown is about to get even more exciting…

The £15m development plan that’ll see Midtown’s coming of age

It’s been announced today (Thursday) that Midtown is going to benefit from a £15m boost from private investment, which will go towards further development of the area as a major visitor and business destination.

The investment has been championed and led by inmidtown, the business improvement district (BID) representing businesses in Midtown, as part of its ambitious five-year business plan.

Meet inmidtown, the BID that has brought Midtown to life

inmidtown has for the last decade been dedicated to crafting the identity of the Midtown area and attracting investment, infrastructure and all those exciting businesses.

It’s been instrumental in putting Midtown on every Londoner’s map - and in significantly improving the environmental impact of businesses there, to boot.

inmidtown’s key achievements to date:

>> joint procurement projects in conjunction with nearly 200 Midtown businesses with social, environmental and cost-saving benefits, such as zero to landfill waste services, joint taxi and courier schemes

>> major initiatives such as the Midtown Big ideas Exchange, a series of innovative discussions and debates hosted by 17 of Midtown’s global business leaders, including Google, Yahoo! and Mishcon de Reya

>> crime prevention tactics, which have seen a 25% reduction in crime

>> the BID has also played an integral role in supporting projects led by Transport for London to shape the design and drive forward a £250m+ upgrade for Holborn Tube station.

Tass Mavrogordato, CEO of inmidtown (pictured below), says: “10 years ago, Midtown was not considered a desirable destination for businesses, but there has been a dramatic step change. It is beginning to earn its reputation as being a destination that does things differently.

“By continuing to take a collective approach to local issues, creating programmes that stand out from the crowd and delivering innovative operational programmes for the Midtown business community, it will further enhance its appeal for major domestic and international businesses to locate here.”

Tass Mavrogordato

TfL’s Hendy is fully on board. He said: “With all this activity, it’s vital a strong voice represents business’ vision. I’m delighted to be working with Inmidtown BID to ensure the area continues to flourish as London, and our network, grows.”

In a statement announcing today’s news, inmidtown said it is “committed to capitalising on this success over the next 10 years to ensure that the area becomes a globally renowned business destination – the destination of choice for business – and one of the most talked about destinations in London”.

And few would deny that it is well on the way to achieving that.

Here are inmidtown’s plans for the future of Midtown

IMPROVED INFRASTRUCTURE: With over 1.5 million workers and visitors coming into the area on a daily basis and with two of Crossrail’s most significant stations opening in the area, the BID will continue to work closely with local authorities and stakeholders to ensure the area is fit for purpose. This includes:

DRIVE INWARD INVESTMENT: To drive forward the investment of the area and cement it as a major area for commercial growth inmidtown will continue to lobby and influence planning policy and achieve greater investment into the area via property group.

SAFE AND SECURE STREETS: Creating a safe environment is a pivotal part in ensuring the area is attractive to businesses in the area and those looking to come into the area. The five-year plan seeks to further reduce crime to create a safe environment for businesses, workers and visitors.

>> Two dedicated police offices

>> Hotel Watch: bringing together the hotels of the area to create a platform to share intelligence and discuss issues

SMARTER BUSINESS: To enable competitive advantage for businesses and build a local economy, inmidtown plans to expand its already successful portfolio of innovative, competitively priced solutions to cater to the needs of the business community, including:

>> Zero to landfill waste package

>> Closed-loop stationary programmes

>> Joint procurement services, such as zero emissions taxis and courier services.

These programmes will help realise the BID’s ambitions to increase carbon savings by 20%.

CHAMPIONING THE AREA: Strengthening the area’s identity to further drive visitor numbers and  enhance the business community, by creating standout campaigns and events that capture the unique spirit of the area and bring the business community together in a collective learning voice including:

>> A series of innovative business networking events, debates, seminars and discussions which unite the Midtown business community to create a unique knowledge and ideas sharing platform.

>> To continue to deliver a strong cultural walks programme which celebrates the great heritage of the area

SUPPORTING THE LOCAL AND BUSINESS COMMUNITY: To further enhance the business environment for Midtown and support corporate social responsibility programmes to make a difference at a local level, the BID will expand upon its successful programmes, including:

>> Urban farming initiatives from rooftop gardens and urban beekeeping to the Chicken coop at Corum Fields – businesses get to ‘sponsor’ a chicken

>> The implementation of a series of local apprenticeships and work experience programmes working with Camden Council.These projects will continue to encourage the business community to engage directly with the local community. 

This article is brought to you in partnership with inmidtown

ABOUT INMIDTOWN

inmidtown represents the interests of 300 businesses in Bloomsbury, Holborn and St Giles. Our aim is to make the area work for business: brand association; customer satisfaction; and employee retention are all tangible, measureable benefits of being in midtown.  Our work offers innovative solutions to everyday business needs, building competitive advantage for all who do business here. Inmidtown enables the collective voice of business to be represented, working with and adding value to, the work of Camden Council, the Mayor’s Office and agencies, Transport for London and the Metropolitan Police.

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