House of Fraser’s empty Oxford Street store is getting a £132 million refurb

The West End renaissance is well underway. Not only is the M&S Oxford street (controversially) being demolished, the old Fenwick is up for a makeover too. And now House of Fraser’s empty flagship is poised for a glow up. The department store will live to see another day. 

The House of Fraser flagship store at 318 Oxford Street is set to get a ‘once-in-a-100-year’ makeover over the next 12 months. The £132 million renovations will include a huge office, shops, restaurant, gym and swimming pool complex. It’s set to be complete next year, despite massive renovation challenges created by the original 1930s German art deco building.

The House of Fraser department store closed in January 2022, but it’s going to reopen as ‘The Elephant’. Inside the Elephant will be 366,000 square feet of space across eight stories. Offices will spread from the first to the seventh floors. Then, the newly created eighth storey will have a rooftop restaurant and terrace with 360-degree views of London, while the ground floor will be occupied by shops in a double height retail space above a private gym and 25-metre swimming pool.

Project managers MGAC and contractors McLaren said they will try to retain as much of the building’s original structure as possible, despite facing some serious challenges within the building’s original skeleton. The art deco building suffers from ‘Regent Street disease’ – a problem that affects many early twentieth century buildings with steel columns clad in masonry. In 2019 a net was put around the building to stop stone from crumbling off and falling on shoppers below. Let’s hope the contractors are able to sort this out! 

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