Construction of Soho’s first major theatre building in over 50 years has started, next to the demolished Astoria on Tottenham Court Road.
Soho Place is a mixed-use scheme above the new Tottenham Court Road Crossrail Station. It will comprise of two separate buildings, one being a 10-storey building with retail and office space directly on top of the tube station entrance.
Next to it will be the nine storey building split into three office floors above a 600 seat theatre. One of the more interesting aspects of the 9-story building design is that the seating area for the theatre will “hang” over the enlarged public space outside the theatre building.
An earlier scheme from 1996 which was already intending to demolish the Astoria would have seen a smaller 250 seat theatre built at a sub-basement level as a replacement, but when the plans were revised following the Crossrail approval, this was modified to require a larger theatre to be provided.
While the theatre is likely to be the main public face of the eventual building, with office above, roughly a quarter of the physical space above ground will in fact be housing the ventilation systems for the Elizabeth line tunnels and platforms.
Appointed preferred bidder in July 2018, the construction firm, Laing O’Rourke has since then been delivering enabling works for the project. Last week marked the start of main construction with the team concentrating on some piling above and around the web of services and tube lines that sit below the site.
The development is due for completion in November 2021.