Construction giant Sir Robert McAlpine has held an official ceremony to mark the advancing progress of Woking’s stunning new £540m Victoria Square development, one of the South-East of England’s largest and most ambitious building and engineering projects.
The ‘topping out’ ceremony, which is traditionally held when then last beam or final roof piece is placed at the highest point of a structure, marks an important milestone in the transformational building project, signalling that all structures have now been completed.
Internal design and exterior modelling will now begin ahead of its official opening later next year.
A joint venture between Woking Borough Council and Moyallen Group, the £540m investment in Victoria Square is a key component in Woking’s future growth ambitions and the council’s mission to create a high quality, modern environment where businesses choose to locate and where people aspire to live.
Ed McAlpine, Chair and Executive Partner at Sir Robert McAlpine, said: “The ritual of ‘Topping Out’ is an ancient custom which marks the successful attainment of the highest point in a major project’s construction and we are thrilled by the progress now being made and by the strong and positive impact which the Victoria Square development is already making in Woking.
“A masterpiece of modern engineering and carefully designed to accurately meet the needs of an ambitious, forward-looking destination with a goal to achieve, compete and outpace, Victoria Square represents a stunning, physical testament to that determination.”
Due for phased handover from late 2020 with completion by spring 2021, Victoria Square will deliver 125,000 sq ft of retail space, 429 residential apartments in two iconic sky-high towers, a new four star Hilton hotel, a 50,000 sq ft flagship Marks and Spencer store, two public plazas, a medical centre and 2,800 parking spaces.
It will also feature a brand new 27,500 sq ft Boots store and a further five retail units and a new restaurant on Commercial Way, all of which will be complemented by further public realm enhancements.
Woking Town Centre is already home to many of the UK’s leading retail brands, including Primark, Next, H&M and Debenhams as well as a wide range of leading independent and high street restaurant brands.
On track for completion, the new Hilton hotel will feature 189 guest rooms, including 12 suites, as well as a ballroom for up to 500 people and 7,000 sq ft of meeting room space, adding to the fast-growing town’s already impressive business offer.
First discussed almost a decade ago, the ambitious project has been specifically designed to deliver a significant economic boost for the fast-growing, affluent destination which is strategically located only 25 minutes from central London by train and just 11km from Heathrow. Woking also enjoys a direct fast link bus to Heathrow Airport.
With a population which grew by an annual 10% rate in the decade to 2011, the new Victoria Square development will serve a high-spending catchment of more than 645,000 people with annual spend potential spend of almost £230m.
Councillor David Bittleston, Leader of Woking Borough Council, said: “Our bold and ambitious transformation is already yielding benefits and creating new and exciting economic opportunities that will continue to dramatically enhance the quality of life in Woking and further afield to underpin this important, strategic location as an enterprising, vibrant and sustainable place in which to live, work and visit.
“A key catalyst for further growth, Victoria Square is one of the largest urban transformation projects ever undertaken in Surrey and will be a lynchpin in Woking’s quest to establish itself as a major economic player within the region and within the wider UK.”
A strategic location for business investment and one of the top 10 knowledge centres in the UK, Woking has already attracted a wide range of national and global companies, including Formula One racing giant McLaren, Cap Gemini and the globally renowned WWF.
Earmarked for phased completion from late 2020, with a complete fit-out for apartments and occupation by 2021, Victoria Square will play an integral role in Woking’s ongoing transformation.