Starbucks set to return to Woolwich near Elizabeth line station

Starbucks look set to return to Woolwich after an application was submitted to open at a site in the Royal Arsenal.

The unit is located in the listed Officers’ House building beside the Elizabeth line station.

Starbucks formerly had a unit on Powis Street but shut up shop around five years ago.

Blast from the past. Next to defunct Phones 4 U chain

Now they seek to return to the north of town. It’s somewhat predictable that a major chain is moving in to one of a number of vacant units in the Royal Arsenal site.

Now I’m not averse to visiting a Starbucks on occasion but Berkeley really do seem keen to make the area a corporate blandsville.

Will we see some more interesting businesses in future?

Of course, you may say. That’s what they do. And that’s right. But its still dull. It’s a bit like having two pubs owned by Young’s nearby. Ok to visit on occasion but generally yawn-inducing.

This also brought to mind how many empty units still exist in the area – both to the rear of Officers’ House and at a new arcade where no unit has seen any applications.

Empty units four years after completion

As for the Officers’ House itself – a Grade II listed building – Berkeley Homes previously wanted to knock it down for a taxi stand.

One reason to knock it down given by Berkeley was that the walkway was too narrow. Now it’s wide enough for a coffee shop to be located. The original rationale was always a nonsense.

That application brought home how little they really know about place-making. Fortunately this site covered the proposal and it caused a bit of a kerfuffle as residents and politicians asked questions – and they quickly backed off.

Now renovated. Berkeley Homes sought to demolish this building for a vehicle waiting area

Why on earth they would demolish a fine building that could – and now has – seen conversion to new housing and commercial space was always rather strange.

In exchange for keeping it, Berkeley gained approval for a new block with an arcade running through the site below new homes. Perhaps that was always the goal.

So far no applications for any commercial units have been seen in this area seen below.

Commercial spaces on ground floor level below new homes

Berkeley have a record of trying to demolish buildings of value or diminish public spaces, as seen recently with their big screen proposal which again was quickly ditched when spotted.

It’s all rather odd how they make mistakes like that as the area is a generally well designed, footfall is high and they’re certainly not lacking income as they’ve been granted permission for high density housing throughout much of the area.

Six towers approved in small area. Two complete. Two almost complete. Work on last two appears underway

So Berkeley, any chance of something a tad interesting in the area?

After all, there’s many empty units lying empty for years.

Empty units facing new square

Perhaps reduce the level of rents to create a bit of interest? Try to make new businesses opening less tediously dull? Go on! You can do it.

Perhaps not.

Plans can be viewed here.


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J Smith

I've lived in south east London most of my life growing up in Greenwich borough and working in the area for many years. The site has contributors on occasion and we cover many different topics. Living and working in the area offers an insight into what is happening locally.

6 thoughts on “Starbucks set to return to Woolwich near Elizabeth line station

  • I’m ok with a starbucks as long as some indies pop up around as well. Having corporates in the area does provide some confidence about market fit for other businesses.

    I will say a real dichotomy is playing out right in front of that elizabeth station. Kids playing ball in the field while an addict with a fake injury wheels away stolen smoked salmon from the M&S next door. Watch as the security guard gets expletives hurled at them, perhaps a few jettisoned salmon packets too. Who says woolwich doesnt have entertainment?

  • Agreed – hopefully Starbucks moving in will be encouraging to others that there is a valid business case for opening new venues there, empty shop units should be a focus for the Mayor – giving developers a certain cut off time where they then hand them over for other uses – art galleries, work spaces, local coffee shops etc at a hugely reduced rate.

  • A few months ago, I saw job adverts for a new Starbucks but the address was on Powis St (near the old site they occupied). Could it be they are opening two in Woolwich?

    That site next to the Liz Line station must have been pricey rent given it lay empty for so long. The footfall there is heavy at peak times, so I’m sure it will be a success by that measure (though I worry about littering).

    There was an application to open an Italian deli behind the station.

    Not sure I agree RA is a complete corporate blandsville.

    SALT, Boulangerie Jade and cafe at Woolwich Works are options if you don’t fancy Youngs. There is also the farmers market too.

    If that’s still too gentrified then you can easy walk across the main road and try some of the options there.

  • Looking at the brochure online for these units they was a 10 to 15 year lease.

  • The idea to support small businesses through funding is the way forward. No small business can afford the retail spaces large corporations can. I guess what they are trying to do in Woolwich is to try to attract the large chains that will cater for the new comers which in return will kickstart the street economy. That new money then will demand variety and that’s when the creative individual small business will start re-populating the town centre as they will seek for cheaper rents nearby.
    The reverse has happened in places like Dalston and Deptford where the artists have moved in first and small businesses thrived and they are now being followed by the larger corporations.
    We live in a capitalist society after all. Whether we like it or not money is king. However if you have large corporations like Starbucks making massive profits you need to make sure that some of that capital goes towards supporting the local services or the local entrepreneurs.

  • Never understood why they don’t demand a % of affordable retail units to locals like they do for residential units in these large developments


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