A guest post by Stan Duncan, Senior Executive Vice President of U.S. Human Resources and Global Head of Management for Westfield, LLC.
This year, 70 percent of the 10 million visitors heading to the London Olympics will pass through Westfield Stratford City. This is the first time in Olympic history that the “Gateway to the Park” will greet visitors with a shopping and leisure centre, complete with 300 brands and 70 dining options.
Adjacent to the London Olympic Park and local transportation stations, Westfield Stratford City covers 1.9 million square feet (representing five times the floor area of Tate Modern and 20 times that of St. Paul’s Cathedral).
Although the Summer Olympics have created a timing catalyst, the centre wasn’t built exclusively for the 16-day Games. Before London won its bid to host the Olympics, Westfield had already bought the land where the Olympic Park was eventually built and had plans to construct Europe’s largest urban mall along with 5,000 apartments.
Now the shopping centre is part of the large multi-purpose development project Stratford City, which aims to regenerate one of the most economically depressed sections of London. Since its opening last September, Westfield Stratford City has created 10,000 permanent jobs, including 2,001 jobs for local residents. An average of 700,000 to 800,000 people visit the centre each week and 35 to 40 million are expected to visit during its first full year.
In addition to shopping and dining, the centre boasts a 17-screen, all-digital Vue cinema, 14-lane All Star bowling alley, Premier Inn hotel and Aspers Casino.
Visitors can download the Westfield Stratford City app for a quick comprehensive guide on locating shops and restaurants, making reservations online, finding the latest offers and events, and booking tickets for Vue cinema showings. To support mobile app usage, Westfield Stratford City offers free mobile charging stations and free Wi-Fi.