Fulham Pier to redefine luxe living
Sports sell places. How do you ensure that the spectators come to the venue earlier, stay longer, have more fun and in the process help generate more revenue? Many stadiums nowadays are conceptualized as destinations – for visitors and the neighborhood, the so-called community stadiums. These stadiums will have to respond to local needs else they will never make profit. Stadiums are more than just a place to watch the game. Involving theme parks is bound to add value to the best practices and experiences for destination creation. Fulham F.C.’s Fulham Pier project is a destination which promises a kind of holistic holiday for people rather than just walking into the stadium and watching the game and coming out – it is not a run-of-the-mill kind of development. Know from Angelo Giannuzzi how it is all set to become a destination unto itself once it goes on stream next year.
Fulham Football Club is an English professional association football club based in Fulham, London. They currently compete in the Premier League, the highest level of the English football league system. Founded in 1879, they are London’s oldest football club playing professionally.
Craven Cottage is a football stadium located in Fulham, West London. It has been the home ground of Fulham F.C. since 1896. The ground’s capacity is now 19,359, all-seated, down from 25,700 which happened with the closure of the Riverside Stand for redevelopment in the close season of 2019.
Angelo Giaunnuzzi, Project Development Officer, Fulham FC, UK, explains in an exclusive to ‘Coliseum’ during the ‘Coliseum Online Week EUROPE Worldwide – held from March 22nd-26th, 2021 – how the Fulham Pier project of the club extends beyond the traditional stadium concept and comes loaded with a lot of out of the box ideas. He takes the online audience a bit through the project.
London’s next great destination will be Fulham Pier. Designed by architect Populous, the development will bring about a sea change in the riverside walkway and will transform the same into a world class leisure destination, a pathway that will allow an uninterrupted walk along the banks of the River Thames between Hammersmith and Putney Bridges and a choice of amenities for visitors to enjoy throughout the year.
Following an announcement from Fulham FC Chairman Shahid Khan on May 22nd, 2019, the club signed an agreement with lead contractor Buckingham Group Contracting Limited for the demolition and development of the Riverside Stand, commencing in the summer of 2019.
This transformation will create a modern, world-class riverfront destination that will provide so much more than just football, all the while securing Fulham Football Club’s long-term home at Craven Cottage.
Angelo Giannuzzi shot off by stating that the Fulham Pier project of Fulham F.C. is a “real project in the sense that it is not just an idea that we have or a plan. The whole development is going ahead quite nicely.”
He started off by explaining the vision a little bit – “The idea is to manage to create a destination which works all year round. This is not a stadium that has been built for matchday purposes. Quite the contrary, it’s been entirely conceptualized in order to have success on non-matchdays which as everyone knows is the vast majority of the days during the year.”
- Health club and spa;
- Boutique hotel; and
- Construction timeline.
Stated Giannuzzi, “The idea is first to be able to develop the transport that we have on the river which is a massive opportunity for us.”
The new stand will create a neighborhood hub by completing the Putney Bridge to Hammersmith Bridge riverside walk and creating a new destination for the locals and visitors to enjoy.
- Fully residential;
- Connected well; and
- Another big contribution of the project is that they are going to develop on the river which Giannuzzi stated means that “we will be able to connect Hammersmith and Putney. So, the moment when you walk up and down the river, you need to go round our stadium without development because we bought a chunk of the river and you will be able to walk up and down the river without any interruption”.
Once again, the river transport which is a massive part of this project, it goes in parallel, but the idea he explained is to “first get approval soon and the idea is for people to be able to come thanks to the public transport of London or even chartered buses”.
Streamlined communication network:
- Pedestrian route;
- Vehicle route;
- Drop-off point;
- Fulham Pier;
- Boutique hotel;
- Health club and spa;
- Riverwalk; and
- Gate and turnstile.
Spoilt for choice
Added Giannuzzi, “When it is a matchday, it is quite straightforward in the sense that people come to experience the game of football and therefore the way we are going to use these spaces is primarily food and beverage and depending on the level of seating, the quality of food and beverage goes higher. But, on non-matchdays, we really need to think about using these spaces quite differently because if you only create the food and beverage destination, the chances of succeeding are bit slim. So, that’s why we decided to create this formula.”
- The basement will enjoy an entertainment venue;
- Food court on the ground floor;
- Restaurants on the first floor;
- Meeting and events space on the second floor; and
- Private members club on the third floor going up to the roof terrace.
The basement is an entertainment venue – it’s a flexible area. There are different uses – so, whether it’s a free space, a catwalk, banqueting, a party concert or auditorium.
He informed, “We started to work little bit on the interior design. There is a long way to go but we are happy with the progress. This has to be unusual enough to be able to personalize it depending on the type of event we are going to host.”
The food court sits on the ground floor. Giannuzzi puts in, “People would walk up and down the river right here and then they have the opportunity of entering our food market destination. The idea here is to create a destination where you have different concepts of food and beverage with an activation space in the center of the food court that could be a really key asset to this destination. The walkway is going to present incredible scenery for anyone enjoying the space that we have here. We are working on some internal concepts to make sure that we have the right food offer.”
He informed, “We are also working on the riverside market branding to make sure that everything becomes part of one unit and it doesn’t look as several operators scattered within the building.”
Restaurants (First Floor)
The two restaurants sit on the first floor and one could go up either taking the staircase or the elevators. Two restaurants – one is gourmet restaurant and the other one is a brasserie (a restaurant in France or in a French style) which is more accessible – will be open for families and will remain open all year round. The unique feature of this space is the terraces which will create a unique dining experience as the Project Development Officer shared, “because we will be eating suspended over the river – a fascinating dining experience for everyone. The interiors of the restaurants are comparable to luxury hotels.”
Meetings and Events (second floor)
This space has two big meetings and events room enjoying astonishing amounts of spaces. It is easy to personalize as per the event being held and at the same time soak in amazing views over the river.
Private Members Club (3rd Floor)
Home away from home
Talking about the Private Members Club, Giannuzzi further shared, “This has definitely been a bold decision on our side because it’s quite unusual to have members club within a stadium of this sort. And we decided that because Fulham is such a residential area, I think a place that becomes a home away from home for the local residents could be something of a success. So, we decided to have different areas within this Members Club – we have a reception lounge area, then we have a restaurant dedicated to members. We also have a shared workspace and meeting and private areas. We also have family-oriented space – lot of lounges, relax areas and then a crèche for children, so families can go and relax within this space.”
On the fourth floor, again is lodged the Members Club and it is more of a cocktail lounge, a socializing area, even here the character of these spaces is going to be much different than the usual stadium spaces. The idea is for people to relax on non-matchdays and really enjoy their time.
Cherry on the cake
Giannuzzi stated, “The icing on the cake becomes the roof terrace we have which is extraordinary because it’s going to have incredible views of the river, of the football field, of the park and this is going to be open all year round to members. We are trying to make sure activity happens in this space the whole year through and is also very attractive.”
Health club and spa
The health club and spa is a separate pillar that has its own entrance.
It is going to be a flexible space that is going to have spinning classes, yoga, and whatever type of activities fitness freaks would prefer.
Treatment rooms and nail bar
The main changing room is going to be on the roof terrace where people would like to go and relax and get their treatment.
Wet zone and lounge cafe
The character of this spa is going to be quite unique as he maintained, “We want it to be very much about holistic recovering and therefore using our wet zones and different sorts of therapies and at the same time we want people to relax and so we have a café built inside.
Rooftop pool and spa
In the words of Giannuzzi, “The fourth floor is the protagonist – we have this amazing infinity pool on the top and people can enjoy this every day of the year, so this is going to be a heated pool. And then there are some spa facilities within the fourth floor.”
The boutique hotel will boast a small lobby for check-in and check-outs. Giannuzzi further maintained, “One of the great features of this boutique hotel is if you are booking with us then you will be able to use the private Members Club facilities as well. This is why we don’t need a massive reception area but we believe the guests will enjoy the members club as their main reception lounge area.”
He added, “In the first floor of the boutique hotel, we are going to have two rooms between 25 and 29 square meters which for the London market is quite a decent size for a hotel room. Further up, on the second floor, we have five rooms – so, two standard rooms, two suites and one accessible room. So, the great thing here is that each of these rooms have their own private balcony which once again in a City like London is quite a rarity and these balconies are facing the river so, one will be able to wake up to phenomenal views.”
The third floor is similar to the second floor – there are five rooms, each one with its own private balcony and one has direct access to the Members Club. Visitors will be able to enjoy in their room but at the same time go to the Members Club if they want to relax, socialize, want to take a bite, and let their hair down.
Giannuzzi enthused that the master suite “is really a unique place that we have – we have this beautiful suite which has some large day and night areas, its own balcony and the most important is it has its own terrace which is going to be unique to this suite so that one is able to have one’s suite and host some guests over and enjoy the terrace as well.”
There are only two floors plus the terrace which is a part of the Members Club, everything else is open to the general public. So, food court, restaurants, all the other facilities are open to the public.
- Plans submitted to the Council in November 2017;
- Council nod to plans in March 2018;
- Contractor selected in Autumn 2018;
- Project construction started in Summer 2019;
- Team plays at Craven Cottage during construction (Seasons 2020-2021);
- Construction is on and plan is to open the destination by the Spring-Summer of 2022.
Angelo Giannuzzi concluded by stating, “My background is purely in hospitality. I was fortunate enough to be called by Fulham to join this project because they needed bit more of a hospitality approach rather than the traditional stadium approach of what we are trying to achieve. My experiences actually is more in resorts than anything else and as most of you know, in resorts you tend to go for a couple of weeks and you tend to live in the resort for the entire duration of your holiday and to certain extent this is what we want to do at Fulham where you will be the one to spend your day there – whether its eating, whether its socializing, whether it’s doing sports activities and, therefore, it has to be a sort of a holistic experience. And that’s what we are trying to achieve.”
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