By Neil Callanan and Sarah Shannon Bloomberg News
LONDON — The Beatles’ former London headquarters, where the band performed for the last time on the rooftop, may become an Abercrombie &Fitch store after planning authorities recommended the proposal, following objections from area retailers.
The U.S. company intends to open a children’s outlet at 3 Savile Row, which is listed as a historic preservation site, according to documents sent to the Westminster borough council before a vote next week. The property is close to century-old tailors’ shops like Gieves &Hawkes, H. Huntsman &Sons and Henry Poole &Co.
The building housed the offices of the Beatles’ Apple Records label when the band’s final 1969 performance was filmed for the movie “Let It Be.” Abercrombie, whose stores for teens and adults are known for their nightclub vibe with shirtless employees and subdued lighting, shouldn’t be allowed to have models stand at the entrances, hold promotional events featuring celebrities at the shop or play loud music, planners recommended.
The building’s leasehold is owned by AFH Stores U.K. Ltd., according to a filing to the Land Registry. Apple Records sold the property in 1980, a document filed with the planning application shows.
Abercrombie &Fitch declined to comment. The New Alban, Ohio-based company opened its first London store at 7 Burlington Gardens, around the corner from Savile Row, in 2007.
The plan to open a new store sparked protest among retailers including the Savile Row Bespoke Association, which seeks to preserve the area’s character as a center for upmarket men’s tailoring.
The council received objections stating the store would have “an unacceptable impact on the character and function of Savile Row, inappropriate congregation of crowds on the street outside, increased footfall will lead to safety issues on the highway, and potential noise and disturbance to surrounding properties,” according to the documents.
“It is necessary to provide specific protection for the unique clusters of specialist uses, which are central to London’s character, and ensure these clusters are not eroded by pressure from other commercial uses,” Mark Henderson, chairman of Gieves &Hawkes, said by email.
Househam Henderson Architects will oversee the development of the terraced townhouse built in 1773. The firm remodeled Selfridges’ shoe department in London and designed retail spaces for Farrow &Ball, Montblanc and Polo Ralph Lauren.
Abercrombie &Fitch operates a chain of Gilly Hicks young fashion and lingerie stores in Britain, including one on London’s Regent Street, and about 30 Southern California-style Hollister stores.