Westminster City Council has given the green light to a significant development in the heart of central London. The iconic Trocadero building will now house an Islamic community centre in its basement, catering to the needs of Muslims working, visiting, and residing in the area.
Named the Piccadilly Community Centre, the facility will be utilised for prayer and various local community initiatives. The Aziz Foundation, the driving force behind this project, emphasised the centre’s importance, describing it as “indispensable” for the Muslim community in the vicinity.
The entrance to the centre will be located on Rupert Street, providing easy access for those seeking prayer and community engagement. The Grade II-listed building’s ground floor, upper, and lower basements, which were previously occupied by a Metro cinema until 2006, will be utilised for this purpose.
Beyond just offering a space for prayer, the Aziz Foundation envisions the centre fostering interfaith dialogue, promoting understanding and cooperation among diverse communities.
The location of the community centre in the West End is particularly significant, as it will help alleviate the current shortage of prayer spaces in the area. With a capacity to accommodate up to 390 individuals, the centre will serve as a valuable addition to the community.
Originally constructed as a restaurant in 1896, the Trocadero underwent transformations over the years, eventually becoming an exhibition centre and entertainment hub in the 1980s. Today, its upper floors house a 740-bedroom hotel with a popular rooftop bar.
The Aziz Foundation, founded by Asif Aziz, a philanthropic businessman hailing from Malawi and raised in Wandsworth, spearheaded this initiative. As the founder and chief executive of Criterion Capital, a real estate firm that acquired the Trocadero and Piccadilly Hotel for £225m in 2005, Aziz has played a crucial role in realising this transformative community project.