Transport for London (TfL) has partnered with short-term lettings firm Appear Here to let vacant retail units across its vast network to brands, designers artists and entrepreneurs who want to showcase their wares in a pop-up environment.
TfL owns more than 1,000 retail properties at London underground, rail and bus stations, as well as 1,200 arches under its railways. Most of these sites are occupied on a long-term basis. However, as leases expire and spaces become available, some will be reserved for pop-up use.
There are currently 15 TfL retail units listed on Appear Here and some are in very busy locations, such as Piccadilly Circus and Baker Street. The move is expected to generate around £3.5bn over the coming years, which will be reinvested in the transport system, and will guarantee maximum exposure to the individuals renting the sites.
Under the scheme, each brand or retailer will be provided with ‘a white box room’, which they can design and brand as they wish and can also ‘take over’ the nearby Underground station tunnels.
The organisers see it as a great opportunity for innovative brands, start-ups and entrepreneurs to showcase their goods and services, as with millions of commuters travelling on TfL’s network every day, it is a great way to reach their target market.
The first station to use the scheme will be Old Street in east London, where eight units for use as ‘retail or experiential purposes’, will be made available to rent as pop-up spaces through the Appear Here website from the end of April.
The spaces will be designed around themes, concepts or seasons, changing around every three months so that consumers constantly see fresh and exciting ideas on their daily commute.