London’s Canary Wharf visitors rise by a quarter on new Elizabeth Line railway

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Visitors to London’s Canary Wharf have risen by more than a quarter since the Elizabeth Line railway opened last week, boosting its attractiveness to workers and as a recreation site, according to the chief executive officer of the business district’s main landlord.

The transportation line, intended to improve cross-London travel and named in honor of Queen Elizabeth II, will be a “game changer,” adding a “critical connection to Heathrow airport,” Shobi Khan said in an interview Wednesday with Bloomberg TV.

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Khan also said Canary Wharf Group is adjusting its offering to meet people’s needs in the wake of the pandemic. “We live in a hybrid world now,” Khan said. That includes working from home but also a recognition by companies that they need the office “to collaborate and to mentor.”

The development is boosting its leisure offering through a deal with Cornwall’s Eden Project to add more green space and paddle board and wild swimming facilities, Khan said.

Canary Wharf is also diversifying from its historic focus on finance, with plans to build Europe’s largest life sciences tower in a bid to create a center of science excellence. It is also expanding its residential buildings as rents on existing properties rise, Khan said.

The group, which faced questions about its future during the multiple COVID-19 lockdowns, is now attracting modern tech-focused businesses, Khan said, including Apple and Revolut. “We are starting to get these new economy companies coming to the Wharf,” he said.

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