The historic Toys R Us store in Southampton is getting ready to say its final farewell, as the site is prepared for demolition as part of a thrilling new redevelopment project.


 The announcement of the new development was made by Packaged Living, the owner of the former Toys R Us site at Western Esplanade, confirming the news after the scheme had been backed by planning officials In April 2022. The plan stated development would start in late 2022 however there is yet to be any progress on the demolishment. 


The £200 million project will include 4.8 acres and consist of 60,000 square feet of office space, 600 new homes, over 7,000 square feet of food, drink, and leisure establishments, and over 86,000 square feet of new public spaces. The International Maritime Promenade, a new walkway stretching to the water's edge, is also planned to change the entryway to the city from Southampton Central Train Station.


The proposals for four new buildings of between seven and 25 storeys were agreed by councilors last year. A fifth building of up to eight storeys has also been proposed but its use will be determined at a later stage. However, the plans are for build-to-let flats, which would only be available for private rent and not for purchase.


The development has been described by Packaged living as having ‘far reaching benefits’ for the local community and economy, whilst also providing new homes. The council's planning officers said it had no objections and agreed the scheme was "compliant" to policy and would create a "distinctive gateway”.


 There's been a mixture of opinions from local residents as some voiced concerns over the amount of traffic it would create. However, with the railway station close by they have been reassured by developers, as its economic prospects and job opportunities will be transformative for the local community. 


With its combination of residential, business, and leisure facilities, the new building promises to be a significant boost for Southampton. The construction of new public spaces, in particular, will provide much-needed areas for locals to enjoy and may become a new community focal point.


The regeneration of the Toys R Us site is a component of a wider trend of urban renewal occurring throughout the United Kingdom. Several cities and towns are turning to regeneration initiatives as a means to attract investment and improve the quality of life for their residents.


Image credit: Southampton City Council