Elephant Park, a partnership between Lendlease and Southwark Council to deliver a £2.3 billion regeneration project in Elephant & Castle, has announced that sustainable community food market operator, Mercato Metropolitano, has signed for 17,500 sq ft of retail, dining and social space to launch MM Factory, due to open in Summer 2019.
As an anchor tenant, MM Factory will be situated at an important gateway to Elephant Park, facing onto Sayer Street – a new street for local and independent businesses – as well as overlooking Grade II listed Walworth Town Hall on Walworth Square, and will play a major role in establishing this part of the Elephant Park masterplan as a new food hub for London.
MM Factory will represent a new concept of grocery, retail and dining experience. With core values aligned with those of Lendlease, Mercato Metropolitano is focused on revitalising local neighbourhoods, promoting a thoughtful attitude towards food and raising awareness of sustainability and environmental, economic and social aspects of the community through a host of activities.
The highlight of MM Factory will be the urban production centre, a unique and immersive food experience where customers will be able to observe and participate in the traditional arts of food production. Heritage and organic grains will be milled on-site and worked into handcrafted bakery, patisserie and pasta products, allowing customers to enjoy the exceptional flavour and health benefits of natural and unadulterated flours. The space will also feature Mercato Metropolitano’s signature mix of micro-restaurants and high-quality, sustainable food concepts from around the world.
Founded in Milan in 2015, the Mercato Metropolitano concept has became known as the city’s sustainable community market. Following this successful proof of concept, a UK debut meanwhile-use site focussing on artisan producers, urban farms, community activities and cultural programmes throughout the year, launched in Elephant & Castle in 2016. Mercato Metropolitano’s first site has generated more than 200 permanent new jobs, creating longer term sustainable changes in employment, skills and opportunity within the area.
Building on this shared commitment tosustainability, MM will work with Lendlease to offer apprenticeships for community members, as well as community cooking classes to provide people from all walks of life the opportunity to learn how to prepare healthy, sustainably-sourced meals.
Guy Thomas, head of retail at Lendlease, commented: “The new MM Factory from Mercato Metropolitano will bring a vibrant and varied offer to Elephant Park serving Elephant & Castle’s diverse community. Lendlease is committed to creating the best places with longevity, sustainability and a strong sense of community, and like-minded Mercato Metropolitano is the perfect anchor tenant to help us deliver on this promise.”
Andrea Rasca, founder and ‘chief executive dreamer’ of Mercato Metropolitano, said: “Elephant Park is an amazing opportunity for us, when looking at potential destinations it quickly became apparent that Lendlease is a landlord that shares our ideals and vision for the future. The Mercato Metropolitano ecosystem is all about community, a place for an ongoing dialogue between local people, farmers, chefs, retailer and artists, and we cannot think of a better place to build upon this community with a new approach to urban retail than Elephant Park.”
Nash Bond and CF Commercial represented Lendlease, while Mercato Metropolitano represented themselves.