Arding & Hobbs: An Italian grocery revealed as the last tenant on the ground floor

5 mins read
Prezzemolo & Vitale announced in Arding & Hobbs - Credit: CJI

Prezzemolo & Vitale (P&V) is the latest tenant in the final available unit of the Arding & Hobbs redevelopment. It will complement other spaces occupied by Botanica Hall, already open at the corner of Lavender Hill and St John’s Road, and Thirdspace, a luxury health club set to open later in 2024.

P&V London, a Sicilian grocery shop, currently operates stores in Chelsea, Notting Hill, Borough Market, and Wimbledon. The shop offers fruits and vegetables, Italian charcuterie & cheeses, along with various Italian grocery products such as pasta, olive oil, and tomato sauce. They take pride in their brand, Giù Giù, offering a diverse assortment of Sicilian products, including sauces, honeys, and preserves crafted in the Mediterranean warmth

Inside the shop – Credit: P&V Facebook

All retail tenants of Arding and Hobbs now revealed

The ground floor is primarily dedicated to retail, with three tenants assigned to units A, B, and C, as indicated on the adjacent map.

Unit B, now occupied by P&V, was originally designated for Amazon Fresh. However, the online retail giant’s “contactless” stores have failed in the UK, leading to rumors of a possible exit from the country.

As a result, W.RE, the owners and redevelopers of the building, faced difficulties in finding a tenant, but P&V appears to be a valuable addition to the premium choice of occupants of the renovated building.

When CJI talked to W.RE in July 2020, they confirmed that they were seeking some upmarket retail to occupy their different units A,B and C and they were looking at restaurants, cafes, food orientated business and elements of wellbeing with a gym. This is exactly what they have achieved.

Inside Unit B in December 2023 – Credit: CJI

P&V’s spacious store could easily accommodate an eat-in section if they decide to expand their offerings.

They have announced the news on their Facebook page, however they immediately attracted a sharp comment as they branded their post as “Prezzemolo & Vitale London is at Clapham“. A faux pas that they might be keen to correct once firmly established in the area of Clapham Junction.

Comment from Sarah on P&V Facebook page saying: “However, Lavender Hill is not Clapham, but Battersea. Clapham Junction station is actually in Battersea. The residents of Battersea are very sensitive about this.”

They will compete (or nicely complement the high street experience) with Casa Manolo, located just across the road, which is currently operating as a restaurant aka grocery with Spanish meats, Pata Negra, Manchego cheeses, wine and tapas.

Casa Manolo – Credit: CJI

Readers may recall the presence of an Italian restaurant, Valentina, opposite Pizza Express on Lavender Hill. Valentina was apparently profitable in Clapham Junction, unfortunately the chain of a dozen or so restaurants seems to have expanded too quickly and collapsed under the weight of debts in 2019. It led to the closure of the branch in Clapham Junction, after trading less than 4 years in the area.

Valentina restaurant in 2017 – Credit: Google Street View

Botanica Hall, located in Unit A, opened in mid-November and functions as a restaurant, cocktail bar, and hot desk offering fast Wifi. It houses a local distillery producing and selling gin and vodka in collaboration with Tiny Tower Liquor. Botanica Hall plans to organize masterclasses and cater to parties and events.

Botanica Hall – Credit: CJI

While not particularly budget-friendly, their menu includes a Margherita pizza for £11 and Spicy Ragu Tagliatelle for £14.50, comparable to prices at Pizza Express. They have a selection of desserts around £8. The establishment is poised to attract a trendy clientele of young professionals (some of whom may work in the office suites upstairs). Their cocktail bar boasts a diverse selection, including bespoke orders and party packages.

Botanica Hall operates every day from 8 am (or 9 am on weekends) until late at night (12:30 am Monday to Thursday, 2:30 am Friday and Saturday, and 11 pm on Sunday).

Botanica Hall – Credit: CJI

Operated by Albion & East Limited, Botanica Hall is part of a chain of individual neighbourhood bars that cater to diverse needs throughout the day and night, from morning coffee and brunch to hot-desking during the day, and cocktails, wood-fired pizza, and DJs at night. Each restaurant is uniquely tailored to suit its local clientele and area.

Thirdspace, the Rolls Royce of gym clubs

Thirdspace, a luxury health club, is currently working on refurbishing Unit C, with its entrance on Ilminster Gardens. They are expected to open their doors in Spring/Summer 2004, coinciding with another planned location in Nine Elms.

Thirdspace, a luxury health club, is refurbishing Unit C and is expected to open in Spring/Summer 2004.

Thirdspace entrance – Credit: CJI

The facility will offer a comprehensive health club experience, including retail, a fitness bar/restaurant, wet spa, personal training, and various classes.

Thirdspace Soho – Credit: Thirdspace

Notably, Thirdspace will occupy part of the first floor, totaling 28,000 sq ft (2,600 sqm). This decision aligns with preferences expressed by the local community during the application stage, favouring business/retail over offices for the building’s first floor.

Thirdspace in Arding & Hobbs, first floor – Credit: Artist’s impression on Planning Application 2023/3804
Thirdspace in Arding & Hobbs, basement – Credit: Artist’s impression on Planning Application 2023/3804

Membership rates are anticipated to be in the range of £200-300 per person per month.

There are already a number of gym facilities in close proximity around Clapham Junction station. Immediately adjacent to the station and opposite The Grand, there is a FitnessFirst . Another facility is located at the corner of Falcon Lane and Mossbury Road, beside the Travelodge hotel. On Falcon Road, you can find Energie Fitness, and on Grant Road, the home of CrossFit Shapesmiths in London. F45 is situated on St John’s Hill.

TK-Maxx to stay for the foreseeable future

TK-Maxx has a long lease on the right section of the office entrance and was never concerned by the changes to the retail units.

However, its facade was renovated, and the sign changed to match the new branding of the building. New shop signs have been fixed to the stone surface below the first-floor windows in a nice gold-copper colour that is more in keeping with the listed building.

W.RE has strict design policies for the signage used by shops along the facade and works closely with English Heritage to ensure that the building’s external appearance is preserved.

TK-Maxx façade – Credit: CJI

W.RE made the decision to retain the awning element that existed in the original building over a century ago but in a much more subtle and discreet way. These new awnings will be retractable, much like the original ones, and their location is already visible with the flat, thin rectangle elements above the air-intakes (which are bespoke grilles to mirror the windows on the upper floors) and glass panels on the facade.

Still no news for the occupants of the office suite

Although W.RE is very discreet about their operations (see our article: Arding & Hobbs owner opts for distance from local community), the question about the occupants of the office suites on the four upper levels is still open. A few years ago, it would have been a clear spot for companies specialising in shared office space such as WeWork, but the market seems more difficult currently.

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CJI editor and Clapham Junction Action Group co-founder and coordinator since 2008, Cyril has lived in Clapham Junction since 2001.
He is also funder and CEO of Habilis-Digital Ltd, a digital agency creating and managing websites and Internet solutions.