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February 2016

Through an investment of over GBP 1 billion, Paddington Place proposes a dramatic change to an area that has been drab for decades.

Just as Canary Wharf, Battersea, and King’s Cross used to reflect their 19th century or earlier origins and nothing contemporary, so London’s Paddington Station today is tired-looking, uninspiring, and doing nothing to brighten the lives of the thousands of commuters, residents, and tourists who come through each day. That is about to change.

In mid-December Great Western Developments Ltd, a subsidiary of Singapore’s publicly listed Hotel Properties Limited, and its development partner Sellar Property Group submitted a planning application for redeveloping the old Royal Mail sorting station next to Paddington Station and improving the experience of rail passengers who travel to and from Paddington.

Chris Lim, Group Executive Director of Hotel Properties Limited, said: “This is a unique opportunity involving an investment of over GBP 1 billion to provide many public benefits and a scheme which we believe will drive further investment in the wider area.”


Designed by Pritzker Prize winning architect Renzo Piano and his Building Workshop, known for The Shard in London, the New York Times Tower, and the Centre Pompidou in Paris, the mixed-use project will be known as Paddington Place. It proposes a dramatic change to an area that has been drab for decades. The focus is to be a new seemingly transparent tower, appearing to be made of crystal and reflecting light, overlooking an elegant piazza, transforming the grey streetscape and creating a true sense of place.

The developer of The Shard, Irvine Sellar, Chairman and founder of Sellar Property, told the Evening Standard, “It is a fantastic location but it is stuck in a Fifties time-warp. We intend to create a place for people to go, where they will want to live, work, eat, and shop.” Sellar went on to say that he expects Paddington Place “will prove to be a major catalyst for the coming enhancement of the area, especially Praed Street – in much the same way that The Shard did for London Bridge.”

The tower which already being called the Skinny Shard may eventually get its own affectionate name like The Shard in London or the Lipstick building in New York. It will be slender in design and 254 metres in height with 65 storeys.  It will contain more than 100,000 square feet of office space intended for dynamic 21st century companies that prefer small suites and shared open environments for their employees.

As is more and more common in mixed-use projects, the tower will also house 330 apartments in the air, offering wonderful views of city and river. Above everything will be an open-air public roof garden and restaurant extending over 13,000 square feet. The developers promise mature trees and plants from the start, creating an unexpected experience in the sky for visitors.

The Skinny Shard will be one of the tallest buildings in London and in Europe. Only The Shard, One Canada Square in Canary Wharf, and the Salesforce Tower on Bishopsgate are taller – until the next super tall tower is announced.


The development will be further enhanced by 50,000 square feet of high-quality retail and leisure space at Praed Street, on rail concourse and subway station levels, which will breathe new life into the area. Luxury boutiques, restaurants, and cafés will make Paddington Place a destination in its own right for the local community and passengers of Paddington Station.

The ramp that acts as Paddington Station’s entrance will be removed, and the whole area in front of the station opened up. The station concourse will be extended into wide public open space – part of the 1.3 acres of new public realm provided by the project, benefitting the tens of thousands of passengers that use the station each day. The piazza will improve connectivity and establish a new front door for this historic station designed band built by Isambard Kingdom Brunel from 1852-54 in a very different time.

To improve today’s rail passenger experience, a new and enlarged Bakerloo Line subway ticket hall – approximately four times larger than at present – will be created and illuminated by natural light from vaulted glass ceilings. Connections to the Circle/District and Bakerloo Line platforms will be enhanced, reached from a new point of entry/exit, and will ease congestion from the entrance’s present, cramped location. As part of the reconfiguration, London Street will be realigned and augmented by an elegant suspension bridge.

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