A corner block of buildings in Leicester Square, including the large Burger King, is likely to be demolished under plans by the landlord to seek a new tenant for the site.

Google Street View

The landlord, Soho Estates, which owns a large swathe of property in the area is currently seeking “an iconic entertainment brand” to take a pre-let on the site as part of a new development they are planning.

The property development, next to the Odeon Cinema covers 17-21 Leicester Square and 13-17 Bear Street and will be designed in conjunction with the new entrant.

Site for redevelopment – Adapted from Westminster council planning map

Soho Estates says that it has already discussed its plans with the local planning authority and believe there’s an opportunity to create up to 200,000 sq ft of space over multiple levels. Their plans for the new building will be adapted to suit the entertainment tenant they are looking to rent it out to.

Work won’t start yet, as the planning application hasn’t been filed (or approved), and the current tenants leases run until 2025.

The move will see Zoo Bar, Burger King, Pizza Hut and Chiquito all move out to be replaced by the “iconic entertainment brand”, and while the decision does fit in with the area, it also means a cluster of somewhat charmingly shabby buildings will be demolished to be replaced with a large glossy building instead.

It’ll be a more efficient building, but also likely to be a much less interesting corner of Leicester Square architecturally.

There will be an outlier though – the narrow building between the Odeon and the new development, that’s currently occupied by Bella Italia is not part of the development and will remain in place.

And looking wonderfully out of character.

Update – the Burger King site was originally a radical new pub built by Whitbread – more here.

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10 comments
  1. Melvyn says:

    When I see a film in Leicester Square a trip to Burger King is also usually on the menu ….. Far better than than that big M establishment that replaced Restaurant famous for cakes and Ice creams on opposite side of Square …

  2. Luke says:

    Jsyk, Chiquito and Bella Italia aren’t tenants anymore. Jollibee now occupies what was Bella Italia and what was Chiquito is boarded up.

  3. RFL says:

    Jollibee occupies the #22 and they might as well occupy the entire block to fit all Filipino customers they have.

  4. Melvyn says:

    I was with a friend in Chiquito just as the corona virus was breaking out and by chance they had Corona beer on the menu and given neither of us had the virus the beer must have been worthwhile!

  5. John W says:

    Thanks Ian for this item and for the link to the web site about the 1958 Whitbread Pub designed by TP Bennett.

    As with so much of London, here is a corner of Leicester Square with vernacular type buildings presumably from the 19th C and a curved post war pub/restaurant building. None are architecturally outstanding though all contribute in their way and as an “ensemble” to conserve the character of the square. It would be helpful to see the design of the new proposed building. As with so many projects, can some of the 19thC facades be retained and integrated into the project? Interestingly, there likely may be many who would be interested to see the facade of the 1958 Whitbread Pub restored. If the new building proposes a very fine new facade and form/massing that addresses the corner location, perhaps that may be the preferred redevelopment option.

    In terms of function, this part of London sees much turnover/change of restaurants and pubs etc. What is nice is to sit upstairs at the Burger King and to watch the people and activity in the square below. However, I cannot see anyone campaigning seriously to conserve a Burger King restaurant, though never say never.

  6. Doug says:

    I don’t know about “charmingly shabby”. Just shabby I think. I won’t miss that unattractive corner. It looked OK in the 1970s when there were less down-market eateries but it has become increasingly tatty.

  7. Geoffrey Gill says:

    What became the Zoo Bar was once known as “The Old Kings Head” famous for its array of book matchboxes on display also known by some as the “Matchbox Pub. Run by Mr.and Mrs Lamey they lived on the premises and did some wonderful home cooking. Both retired circa 1971-72.

  8. Chris Rogers says:

    Lovely pic of the pub as it was at https://www.sahgb.org.uk/features/celebrating-the-20th-century-public-house

    Leicester Square will remain shabby no matter how flashy and modern the buildings. Every city has its tourist tat area it’s just a shame ours has to be so awful and so THERE.

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