A former JPMorgan Chase executive has raised £200m from investors in a bid to turn unused Tube stations across London into shops and museums.
Ajit Chambers, chief executive officer of Old London Underground Co, wants to use the cash from unnamed investors to turn 26 out-of-use underground stations and bomb shelters into retail and tourism developments.
The mayor’s office revealed that Boris Johnson had discussed the plans with Chambers at the weekend, with the conclusion that more details would be put forward on potential sites and the level of work required for the renovation plans.
Chambers, 38, said: “We’ve set up the construction teams, the finance availability and the investment to renovate underground space.”
He revealed that he is aiming for a pre-London 2012 opening for the first site – Brompton Road station, which has been out-of-use for several decades. The MoD-owned site served as an anti-aircraft base during the Second World War.
The renovation plans would see a members’ club opened at the site, with its tunnels and shafts being filled with the artefacts of the London Fire Brigade museum.
Chambers added that a five-year target has been set for opening all the stations, which will each cost between £17 million and £34 million.
But first the development has to secure approval from Boris Johnson.
The mayor’s office said that Transport for London (TfL) “has already looked closely at these proposals and highlighted the huge safety challenges and massive potential costs they involve.”
But Chambers claims the plan to redevelop unused sites – on what TfL calls the world’s oldest subterranean rail network – into restaurants, museums and shops could bring in more than £300 million.
Brompton Road station – which sits between Knightsbridge and South Kensington – began carrying passengers along the Piccadilly Line in 1906 ahead of its temporary wartime closure.
After its use as a war room, the station reopened to ferry passengers, however it closed for good in 1955.
Chambers said he also wanted to redevelop Aldwych Station, which closed in 1994. Sitting in London’s theatre land, the station was used as a bomb shelter during both world wars.
Old London Underground was founded by Chambers two years ago in a bid to breathe new life into forgotten sites.