Leaky basement delays McLaren’s IKEA Oxford Circus revamp

The completion of McLaren’s refurbishment of the former flagship Topshop store on Oxford Street in London has been pushed back for a second time, to fix leaks in the basement.

The building, which is set to host a small-format IKEA store, will now open in spring 2025 after water ingress in the lower of two basement levels. The issue has already been resolved, Construction News understands.

McLaren’s major retrofit of the building on the corner of Oxford Circus, which was built in 1912, was originally slated for a store opening in autumn last year. The works cost £70m, according to data provider Glenigan.

The opening date had already been delayed by a year, to autumn 2024. In a statement, IKEA UK said it remained “fully committed” to its opening.

Ingka Investments, the investment arm of the company that is the largest owner of IKEA stores, Ingka Group, purchased the site for £378m in 2021 after Topshop’s then owner, Arcadia Group, collapsed.

The building will have 22,000 square metres of retail and office space, with the new IKEA store occupying 7,600 square metres across three floors.

Ingka Investments managing director Peter van der Poel said: “IKEA Oxford Street is a one-of-a-kind project, involving the sensitive and sustainable upgrade of a Grade II-listed building that is over a hundred years old.

“Following the discovery of an unforeseen water-ingress issue, we’re now taking vital steps to mitigate long-term flood risk, and to protect and future-proof this historic building for many years to come.”

Important construction milestones have been passed in the past few months, the Swedish furniture giant said in a statement. All wiring, plumbing and fire protection in the building has been replaced; the upper floors have been converted into office space; secondary glazing has been installed; and the fascia has been cleaned. The hoarding, shaped like IKEA’s easily recognisable FRAKTA bag (pictured), has now been removed.

Waterproofing, layout changes and fire-compartmentation works were planned on the lower basement level where the leaks were discovered.

IKEA will occupy part of the ground floor and the two basement levels. Five additional floors, three of which were occupied by Topshop and two of which hosted a canteen and ancillary space, will be converted into offices, according to planning documents.

Nike and Vans will also have retail space in the building, as they did previously.

IKEA UK chief executive Peter Jelkeby said: “The historic nature of the building makes its careful renovation more complex, but we want to ensure [sic] Londoners that we’re just as excited to open the store as they are to visit it. We look forward to doing so in spring 2025 and contributing to a positive future for London’s most renowned shopping district.”

The project is one of two that McLaren is working on in Oxford Street, after it scooped a £132m revamp of the former House of Fraser store in February.

McLaren has been contacted for comment.

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