As well as being home to one of the most famous universities in the world, Oxford is a vibrant city of industry, commerce and culture. However, the evolution of its retail offering has been hampered over the last few decades by the medieval street layout, its historic buildings and diverse land ownership.
Our new development will deliver a ground-breaking shopping centre in the heart of Oxford that will transform the experience and complement the city’s outstanding architectural heritage.
An Oxford prospect
Although developing in a city as beautiful and historic as Oxford was a challenge, the catchment area around the city has long offered the perfect opportunity for the development of a new centre.
In addition to 30,000 students, the city is home to more than 200,000 residents with a further 130,000 across the wider metropolitan area, and welcomes 9.5 million tourists annually.
Steel used in the building frames5525
Earth removed to create two-storey basement54,014
Length of tower cranes laid end to end96
No wonder it’s top of retailers’ lists when the projected annual spend locally from residents alone is worth £400m, rising to £700m when tourists and commuters are included. With only one other shopping centre in the city, we are expecting Westgate to be popular from the word go.
Food, flagship stores and a fantastic finished product
When the centre opens in October, it will have new public spaces, as well as a curated mix of more than 100 retail stores, boutiques and leisure outlets.
These will be organised to create distinct areas, ranging from affordable luxury to the best of the high street. There will also be a much-anticipated John Lewis flagship store.
Oxford’s leisure scene will get a boost from a new five-screen boutique cinema, as well as 12 restaurants and bars on the beautiful roof terrace, near an aromatic kitchen garden. Back at ground level, Westgate Social will house six very different independent food outlets, taking inspiration from the Trinity Kitchen in Leeds and making it relevant to Oxford.
We know from experience the benefits of creating foodie destinations and championing small businesses in this way. Our communities around Leeds, Glasgow and our brand new mixed-use Nova development in London’s Victoria are already enjoying the culinary experiences we’ve served up.
An architectural test
The benefits that Westgate will bring to the city may be clear, but its location presented us with a unique design challenge.
We wanted to embody Oxford’s distinctive architecture and heritage so four different architects were responsible for distinct blocks of the scheme– and we encouraged them to draw inspiration from the surrounding area. All worked closely with our masterplanners, BDP, who evolved the initial core concept design for the scheme.
Glenn Howells Architects was influenced by the Bodleian Library, while Panter Hudspith Architects took its inspiration from typical Oxfordian architectural features such as the impressive colonnades. Allies and Morrison drew on the evocative oak panelling in several college dining rooms and Dixon Jones, responsible for the Bonn Square façade, looked to Campion Hall on nearby Brewer Street.
We also wanted to improve the sense of community in Oxford city centre. Many of the public spaces are inaccessible historic college quads, so we are creating a variety of new streets and two major public squares where people can enjoy events all year round.
Responsible building from the start
Westgate Oxford, which we are developing in a joint venture with The Crown Estate, will be one of the most environmentally friendly shopping centres the UK has ever seen. We’ve set ourselves stringent sustainability targets, including a full long-term embodied carbon analysis – a UK first for a retail centre.
One way we’re cutting emissions is by covering but not enclosing the walkways and malls – or streets as we prefer to call them – thereby reducing the need for heating and air conditioning. You can read more about this and the other cutting-edge sustainability elements of the development in ‘The Story of Westgate Oxford’.
Westgate will complement the history of the city with [a] 21st-century quarter that provides a massive boost to our retail and visitor economy."
Leader, Oxford City Council
In a city whose reputation is founded on world-class thinking and research, we’re excited to be delivering the UK’s most forward-thinking shopping centre and a world-class retail experience to Oxford’s residents and visitors alike.
792,900sq ft Retail
£100m to £200m
Market value range