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Doors open on £1.8 billion London Olympic shopping behemoth

[First look] The 176,500m² Westfield Stratford City in east London has opened its doors to the public

Completed by executive architect the Buchan Group, the landmark project includes a hotel by Bennetts Associates, a Marks & Spencer’s store by Apa Architects, a John Lewis by Crispin Wride Architectual Design Studio, another hotel by HKR and offices by Fletcher Priest Architects.

Visitors arriving to the 312 hectare London 2012 Olympic Park from Stratford train station will travel through the shopping centre which is expected to serve 4 million people in its ‘catchment’ area.

Opening the building today, culture secretary Jeremy Hunt said: ‘This is a hugely significant day for East London.

Europe’s biggest urban shopping centre opening beside the Olympic Park is a massive vote of confidence in the area and proof of the powerful effect London 2012 is having on this part of the city.’

London mayor Boris Johnson added: ‘ Thousands of jobs for Londoners, millions in investment and one of the best shopping destinations in the world are a fantastic legacy which has been delivered years earlier than would have been possible without the 2012 Games. The Westfield Group has helped secure a bright future for this long-neglected corner of the capital.’

Westfield Group chief executive Steven Lowy said: ‘Westfield Stratford City represents the latest evolution of our thinking and skills in design, retail and leisure mix, technology and sustainability. We have been delighted with the performance of Westfield London in the 3 years since opening and that centre is expected to shortly reach £1 billion in annual retail sales.

‘We would expect that in time, our two London centres will be the 2 top performing urban centres in Europe, have retail sales of over £2 billion, attract over 50 million consumer visits per annum and create over 25,000 permanent jobs in London.’

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