From revolution to restaurant clusters: publisher reads Shoreditch as part of a ‘growth strategy’

TIMEOUT: Time Out Market proposal 106 Commercial St E1 6LZ 040117 © David.Altheer [at]
Another Spitalfields? Near the sanitised market, this is the site of the Time Out scheme

* UPDATE 3 March 2016: Tower Hamlets council planning sub-committee this week refused Time Out Group’s planning application. The company says it will appeal


TIME OUT first landed on the streets of London in 1968, when young revolutionaries rattled governments in France, the US and other countries.

In retrospect it’s easy to see that the listing magazine’s timing was no historical accident: with its agitation-propaganda pages, the initially pocket-size publication was a prime part of alternative culture.

What then to make of its latest move? The corporate-sounding Time Out Group has signed a conditional lease on the site of a Shoreditch betting shop for a “Time Out Market” (Tom). Subject to planning permission, it will open in the second half of 2017 to house, the group hopes, 17 restaurants as well as a cooking academy (not a mere school), four bars, a shop and an art gallery.

The group spins: “Time Out Market brings together under one roof the vibe of a city… its best restaurants, bars, shops and cultural experiences, based on Time Out’s editorial curation… Time Out Group will provide tenants with the facilities, equipment and support services in exchange for a share of revenues.” The bars will be directly managed by the group.

East London Strippers Collective protest about licensing laws with Death of Shoreditch funeral ceremony from Irvington St London EC1 140816 © david.altheer[at ]
Death of Shoreditch? Strippers stage a mock funeral for local culture
It adds that “it is expected that the London site will bring employment and broader benefits” to the area.

Next in line for the Tom treatment are New York and Miami, all part of the group’s “growth strategy”, expanding Time Out’s “international presence”.  The Time Out Market in Lisbon is said to be the Portuguese city’s No 2 tourist destination.

Julio Bruno, chief executive of the group, which is funded mostly by private equity, is “absolutely delighted” to be bringing the “unique” Time Out Market format to London, not only “one of the “world’s most vibrant and exciting cities, but also the birthplace of our iconic brand. It will be a uniquely designed location to capture the very soul of this great city”.

Hard sometimes to define “soul”. Old Hackneyites would say that at least some of the very soul of the borough was embodied in the once-bustling Waste market in Kingsland Road. Hackney council decided it was the wrong kind of soul and has hinted that the site should become something more like Broadway Market. Yet over in Well Street the council is trying its best to revive Well Street Market.

MP Meg Hillier, (Lab) Hackney South talks to Hackney cllr Ian Rathbone and Shoreditch MP, with charity worker Debs, @ Well St Festival Hackney 121215 © DavidAltheer[at]gmail
Campaigning for Well Street- Hackney councllor Ian Rathbone and MP Meg Hillier
One way and another the council’s vision probably includes the Time Out Market which, assuming it gets the council planning approval, will be hoping for a better result than that of another publisher, The Guardian, when it tried in 2015 to capitalise on hipsterism. Its coffee shop was short-lived.

Hamish Scott 040117 

* Time Out Market is intended to be at 106 Commercial Street E1 6LZ. If you want to comment on the proposal, which is likely to be the subject of an appeal (see update at top), press the link to planning application, 03535. The next Well Street Market is on Saturday 7 January 2017 10am-4pm.

* Backstory: Private members’ club for Guardianistas; Kingsland Waste market closing

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