Restaurant groups circle as former air raid shelter is put up for sale

Leading restaurant operators are reportedly eyeing Soho Square as a potential new location for a subterranean establishment.

At least three restaurant groups are reported to be eyeing the site of a former West End air raid shelter that has come on the market.

The 3,200 square foot brick and concrete shell, which is located directly under the gardens off Soho Square close to Oxford Street, could fetch a price of £175,000 after being listed by property agents GVA.

Westminster Council is understood to be offering a long lease on the shelter, which has already caught the attention of foodservice operators interested in transforming the venue into a subterranean restaurant.

GVA’s David Hooper told the Evening Standard said that while the renovation costs would likely run into the millions, the location made it a prime piece of real estate.

“The restaurant market in central London is so hot at the moment that anything new and interesting is going to be well received,” he said. “It’s going to need a couple of million spent on a fit-out but people don’t seem to be put off by that. The floor to ceiling height is incredibly good.”

The entrance to the shelter, which also includes an electricity sub-station, is on the western side of Soho Square although there is an emergency exit through the gardener’s cottage that stands in the centre.

Guy Slocombe, Westminster City Council’s head of investment, added that interest in the site was likely to be boosted by its fascinating past. “With its unusual location and unique history, we will ensure a suitable use for the Soho Square site. After all, it isn’t every day an old World War Two bunker comes on the market.”

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