Revealed: The first two new businesses replacing Debenhams in Clapham Junction

We’ve written at some length on the redevelopment of Arding and Hobbs building at Clapham Junction, following the collapse of previous tenant Debenhams. The plans will see the upper levels converted to offices, with a two-storey rooftop structure replacing the various service buildings that used to be on the roof, and the ground floor and basement split in to smaller retail units (more on the plans here).

W.Real Estate, the owner of the building (who were happy to discuss their plans with us and the Clapham Junction Action Group in some detail) appointed Knight Harwood as the main contractor to deliver the project, and to their credit have forged ahead in the midst of the pandemic and got the construction well underway: anyone who has been in T K Maxx recently (who are set to remain open more or less throughout) has probably heard the sound of some fairly heavy duty construction coming from the rest of the building. The scaffolding is also up around the building, with the awning over the pavement (which was not part of the original design) likely to be removed in the near future.

W.RE have also released some new images of the planned interiors, shown here – with the former first floor (latterly Debenhams’ mens formalwear section) opened up as a modern workspace – shown at the top of this article. And a view inside the under-construction rooftop pavilion structure, which is a timber framed structure in a relatively modern style, designed to create a large and open workspace. To help understand what this photo’s showing – this view is standing on the roof of what was Debenhams (which was previously a mess of various small buildings, water tanks and air conditioning units), looking along St Johns Road, with the cupola at the corner of Lavender Hill just about visible in the middle of the picture.

W.RE appointed Green and Partners s their agent to let the retail part of the new development – a company that has a fair bit of local experience, for example selling no fewer than ten shops further along St John’s Road back in 2015. And they’ve clearly made good progress – as with building works still at a fairly early stage, the first two tenants for the new development have already been identified.

The first is Albion & East Limited, who run a collection of neighbourhood bars, described as “Open all-day & late-night with early-morning coffee, brunch & hot-desking in the day to cocktails, wood-fired pizza & DJs at night and everything in-between”. This would be their seventh venue, with locations already open in Hackney, Crouch End, Old Street and (opening soon) Ealing. In Brixton they also run both Canova Hall and Cattivo, which offer someshat similar combinations of cocktail bar / coffee / pasta and wood-fired pizza / gin distillery, and are on two sides of the same road; with bread supplied from their own bakery in the Old Street branch.

Albion & East have taken on ‘Unit A’, which is the corner directly opposite the Falcon, more or less half of the old beauty section of Debenhams – shown in the plans to the right. They also have a small section of the pavement outside that is owned by W.RE and counts as part of the premises – though the toilets and kitchen facilities are ingeniously down the stairs in a more central part of the basement that would otherwise be quite hard to let. They have applied for a fairly late license, from 8am to 12:30 (and 2:30am on weekends).

The second tenant, in ‘Unit B’ – which is the next one along St John’s Road (after which there will be the entrance to the offices above and then the existing T.K.Maxx) – is completely different – and of course, it’s a branch of Amazon Fresh. These stores are Amazon’s big new push in to selling food, and they work on a ‘just walk out’ basis: you need an Amazon account to enter, scanning a code at the entrance. In store technology automatically detects when you take products from (or return them to) the shelves and keep track of them in a virtual basket. When you finish shopping, you can leave the store – receiving a receipt and your Amazon account is charged. Although these stores do not have checkouts, the premises (which will be open from 7am to 11pm) will have employees, assisting customers, doing stock replenishment, and managing access to the age-restricted section of the store with alcohol and other restricted produce.

It’s no secret that Amazon (who have already opened a branch in Wandsworth) have been keen to open in Clapham Junction, and there had previously been local rumours that they were taking on the former Byron at 53 Northcote Road. That building is certainly having some fairly substantial works, to increase the internal area and sort out the general layout. But that is instead set to become a branch of Danish bakery chain Ole & Steen – with the plans illustrated below.

We’re not too sure what this means for Whole Foods Market just around the corner, which is also owned by Amazon (and which – as we reported some time back – has also been extended). We suspect it;s a different product for a different market, and both will carry on as usual – but we’ll keep you posted if we hear otherwise. Update (March 2023): Amazon pulled out, as part of a slowing down of their UK expansion plans! The unit is up for letting again. Read the full details in this more recent post.

Unit C is the one that opens on the Lavender Hill, that does not yet have a confirmed tenant. And it’s a huge unit – with a lift connecting the smallish ground floor area to a vast area in the basement. This could become all sorts of things – and there are quite a few businesses, like Decathlon, who really like this sort of premises because of the larger areas available at below-average cost – but we would not be at all surprised to see a gym take up this space. Update (March 2023): Thanks to one of our readers, we can confirm that this unit has indeed now been let to a gym: Third Space will be taking it over, and in an interesting move they will be taking space on three levels: the basement, a small section of the ground floor, and some of the first floor – adding up to a huge 28,000 square feet! As well as a wet spa and fully equipped open gym space, Third Space will be opening a reformer Pilates, hot yoga, high-intensity training and cycle studio.

And of course, the main event is the five floors of office space above. There’s a healthy interest in office space outside the centre of London at the mlmemt, we we’ve reported on recently – but details of Arding & Hobbs’ future occupiers remain under wraps for now. We’ll keep you posted if we hear more – but for now, it;s good to see this project forging ahead, and we’re reasonably impressed by W.RE’s early success in signing up new occupiers.

This entry was posted in Arding & Hobbs, Business, Food & drink, Planning, Retail. Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to Revealed: The first two new businesses replacing Debenhams in Clapham Junction

  1. Simon Coan says:

    As always a brilliant insight and update of what is happening in the area.
    Great detail and interesting reading..


  2. Pingback: Update on work and new tenants for Arding & Hobbs | Clapham Junction Action Group

  3. Pingback: The new rooftop floor is appearing Clapham Junction’s landmark Arding & Hobbs building | : Supporting Lavender Hill

  4. Anthony says:

    Really useful info. Great to hear Ole and Sheen are coming to NC Road!
    The development of the iconic building looks fantastic.


  5. Pingback: Update on work and new tenants for Arding & Hobbs – CJAG News

  6. Pingback: The 1960s canopy around Clapham Junction’s Arding & Hobbs building is coming down | : Supporting Lavender Hill

  7. Pauline says:

    Hope they fix the clock.
    Bitd it came in really handy


  8. Pingback: Another new pub for Clapham Junction | : Supporting Lavender Hill

  9. Julie Buffandeau says:

    This building has been undergoing refurb for years. When do they plan to complete the work?


  10. Pingback: Arding & Hobbs in Clapham Junction: The first signs of what the redeveloped building will look like | : Supporting Lavender Hill

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