A Soho property boss is trying to make Chinatown ‘less Chinese’ as he believes the area is populated by too many Cantonese restaurants.
Shaftesbury Chief Executive, Brian Bickell, said that he hopes to attract a more varied group of restaurateurs to the heart of the capital.
Bickell commented: “We’re on a mission to bring more variety to Chinatown – make it more pan-Asian. But we probably couldn’t think of a new name for it.”
He added that some restaurants in the district are having difficulty in bringing chefs in from mainland China due to the government’s point based immigration system.
Shaftesbury is currently conducting a significant redevelopment scheme in the area, and is in communication with Asian restaurateurs about setting up their first UK shops.
The company is looking to bring in new dining brands and concepts from around Asia and wants to make sure that the famous district does not end up with too many major chains that are found throughout the highstreets of the UK.
It is expected that the development will finish mid-way through next year and will open up 13,500 sq ft of restaurant space facing Newport Place and Newport Court (which will become partially pedestrianised), along with 32,000 sq ft of retail space on Charing Cross Road.
The £14.6 million project will also benefit from the opening of a new Crossrail station on Tottenham Court Road.
Meanwhile, Shaftesbury continues to be boosted by the property market of the West End, with no signs of it slowing down after strong growth for the year.
The company’s net asset value per share increased by 21.9% to £8.69 in the year up to the end of September 2015; which was up from the previous year’s figure of £7.13.
The long term strategy of Shaftesbury focuses on restaurants, retail and leisure in London’s West End.