The tenth Croydon Investor Tour was a huge success with key decision-makers being shown that UK’s largest regeneration programme is about more than new buildings.
Organised and led by social enterprise Develop Croydon, the tour was again fully subscribed with more than 50 key decision-makers touring the town centre by foot, coach and tram.
They were able to see for themselves the major schemes already taking shape, with £5.25billion private and public sector investment helping to create 23,500 jobs, 8,000 homes, millions of sq ft of new offices and a new retail and leisure destination, plus some of the opportunities which still exist.
Richard Plant, chairman of the Develop Croydon Forum and director of Stiles Harold Williams, said: “If you had said when we were formed six years ago that we would be doing two of these tours a year for investors who want to see what’s going on in Croydon, we would have found it hard to believe.
“But they have really been a success and the changing landscape as we’ve done these tours over five years has been a joy to behold.”
Guests gathered at Boxpark for a breakfast provided by Knot and Cotto, both traders at the popular pop-up food and drink venue next to East Croydon station.
They heard how Develop Croydon has grown from having eight founding members to around 65 stakeholders today, many of whom have been pivotal in changing the face of Croydon.
Among them are Stanhope and Schroders, which is transforming a nine-acre wasteland into a gateway development of homes, shops and offices, with HMRC about to move into a new headquarters building on the site. Stanhope project director Adam Smith led a tour of the landmark scheme.
Guests also saw the existing Whitgift Shopping Centre, which will be transformed into a £1.4billion retail and leisure mall by Westfield and Hammerson, plus a host of other commercial and residential schemes, including a wave of permitted development projects, as they toured the town.
But the tour was about far more than development. As well as Boxpark, attendees also paid a visit to TMRW, the hub helping to reinforce Croydon’s status as the capital’s fastest-growing tech hub, they went inside the Whitgift Almshouses, a secluded oasis in the heart of the town, and were taken on a mini-tour of some of the murals in the town’s cultural quarter by Kevin Zuchowski-Morrison, owner of the RISEgallery and the brains behind the Croydon Mural Project.
One of the tour leaders Vanessa Clark, director of Sinclair Clark, highlighted the likes of Westfield and Stanhope weren’t the only big names putting their faith in Croydon.
“We’re now attracting London occupiers in the form of Superdrug, Body Shop, AECOM,” said Vanessa.
“The other important thing from a London perspective is that we’ve got some big investment deals happening with R&F Holdings buying the Minerva interest for close to £60million to produce a £500million development, following the purchase Ho Bee buying the government office buildings at Apollo and Lunar House
“It meant that, between them, Far East companies own more than 10 acres of central Croydon.”
From commercial to residential and from schools to community gardens, there were plenty of positive developments for delegates to digest at their closing lunch in The View, Develop Croydon’s marketing suite in the Whitgift Tower.