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Ghost Stations In London Viable Investments?

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http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/road-and-rail-transport/11982661/Ghost-stations-plan-on-London-Tube-faces-legal-challenge.html

A company director is poised to launch legal action after claiming his idea to open the Tube’s “ghost stations” to the public has been “stolen” from him by Transport for London.

Ajit Chambers, who has spent £460,000 of his own money on the project over the last six years, plans to challenge TfL over its handling of a potentially-lucrative contract to turn disused stations into tourist attractions, bars and restaurants.

..

Mr Chambers, a former banker, began working on a scheme in 2009 to re-open the redundant stations as tourist attractions, retail space, bars, restaurants and venues for live music and events.

..

Lawyers for Mr Chambers wrote to TfL on Friday last week informing them he was “entitled to apply for an interim injunction … to halt this tender process”.

His company also had a right to “bring a claim for damages to compensate it for the profit it has lost from being unlawfully kept out of this contract”.

I'm surprised living spaces aren't being considered, I thought underground living was soon to be all the rage in London?

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http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/road-and-rail-transport/11982661/Ghost-stations-plan-on-London-Tube-faces-legal-challenge.html

I'm surprised living spaces aren't being considered, I thought underground living was soon to be all the rage in London?

From the wiki page:

Chambers appeared on Dragons' Den in August 2015, asking for £2 million for 51% of the business to develop the Down Street disused station site in Mayfair as a tourist attraction, but he failed to secure any investment from The Dragons. The reason for the lack of investment from any Dragon was that It was pointed out to Chambers by Nick Jenkins that "you do not own the opportunity" (with which Chambers agreed), the opportunity being the lease on the Down Street property and that anyone else "more credible" with the same amount of money could come in and do a similar thing whilst owning 100% of their business. Four hours after the show aired an Investor called Chambers offering the full required investment and giving Chambers their credibility to take the project forward.

Looks like the Dragons were right.

[in fact, I'd go so far as to say that some senior TfL people saw the programme, noticed that he didn't own the opportunity, and old the team to try again for a higher price]

Anyway, I don't know how he can claim to be first to spot the opportunity - when I lived in London years ago everyone knew there was an opportunity. The difference is because he is an ex banker it gives him the understanding of how to access funding. Doesn't give him the nouse to understand that you've go to secure an opportunity where you don't actually own anything special (or even the knowledge of how to develop underground).

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I wondered exactly what kind of "visitor attraction" he had in mind (and therefore how much of an audience there might be for it).

I have found the following

"The ticket hall structure wll be a mecca for events of all shapes and sizes, the rooftop will be an enchanting garden, bar and restaurant on the fashionable Brompton Road, whilst below ground will be a world class tourist attraction with groups of fifteen ushered down the drop-shafts round the clock for private tours of the mysterious, forgotten world below.

Minimal cosmetic restoration will be carried out so as not to compromise the authenticity and decaying charm of the former Command Centre from a bygone era. Visitors will even see the Piccadilly line trains racing through beyond the far platform, unbeknown to the millions of commuters who pass by in the darkness, every week.

Now, here's the science bit. Chambers has a vision of world-class ‘imagineering’; One that Walt Disney would have undoubtedly been proud of. Picture the scene. You're in a spooky underground chamber (excuse the pun!) and a phantom train glides into the platform. The doors slide open and a hoard of ghostly RAF servicemen spill out, hurrying to their stations. Here begins a sensational journey back in time, to an ethereal ghost station filled with the heroic spirits of a distant age. This hidden world will be created using the very latest projection and hologram technology, the likes of which haven't been seen in a city center visitor attraction environment before. A strategic mix of holograms and actors will combine to create a thriving underworld, accurately telling the stories of what happened in this deep warren of covert and secret tunnels. Corporate and consumer visitors will experience a fully operational Command Centre complete with a seventy year old underground railway, in full (holographic) use! Putting it bluntly, this will be a truly world class 'edutainment' focused visitor attraction to rival any other authentic experience anywhere in the world.

Indeed, when Chambers first ventured down there by torchlight (the first person who had done so for decades), he discovered a veritable Tutankhamen’s tomb of discarded treasures - huge industrial fans, gas masks, gas-sealed doors, even a cinema for the troops stationed there during the war…all of which you’ll soon be able to see for yourself."

Even if he can acquire the ownership of / a lease on the whole complex, how much is any necessary maintenance work and all the tech going to cost? And how much could you charge as an entrance fee? I trust he's done a good deal of research into that.

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Really dodgy sounding company.

Set up in 2009. Dissolved in 2012. Re-established in 2012. No accounts filed. Late accounts. Single director.

Why would anyone invest in a company with that profile - let alone where the opportunity isn't secure.

How come it is always ex-bankers that set themselves up in this way. They're all full of confidence but scratch the surface and they're so often idiots.

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Now, here's the science bit. Chambers has a vision of world-class ‘imagineering’; One that Walt Disney would have undoubtedly been proud of. Picture the scene. You're in a spooky underground chamber (excuse the pun!) and a phantom train glides into the platform. The doors slide open and a hoard of ghostly RAF servicemen spill out, hurrying to their stations. Here begins a sensational journey back in time, to an ethereal ghost station filled with the heroic spirits of a distant age. This hidden world will be created using the very latest projection and hologram technology, the likes of which haven't been seen in a city center visitor attraction environment before. A strategic mix of holograms and actors will combine to create a thriving underworld, accurately telling the stories of what happened in this deep warren of covert and secret tunnels. Corporate and consumer visitors will experience a fully operational Command Centre complete with a seventy year old underground railway, in full (holographic) use! Putting it bluntly, this will be a truly world class 'edutainment' focused visitor attraction to rival any other authentic experience anywhere in the world.

Great but why bother. You can get an almost identical feeling for free from movies on the internet without having to move an inch or deplete your savings - especially with ZIRP.

Of course it's just the sort of bull that gets used to sell a project to mug investors and eventually gets scrapped for something far more mundane - like paying a fortune just to have a look at what's there already - no thanks.

More likely once they get control of the "real estate" then they'll suddenly realise they have an opportunity to profit from crazy house prices and suddenly underground living will be advertised and marketed in Asia and everywhere else overseas as the latest London property thing for rich overseas investors to buy and to set London house prices at even more extortionate levels.

Edited by billybong

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I'm surprised living spaces aren't being considered, I thought underground living was soon to be all the rage in London?

+1

and wasn't there a recent article about how disused railway property was finally and at last going to be used for residential housing because of the so called housing crisis.

Edited by billybong

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I wondered exactly what kind of "visitor attraction" he had in mind (and therefore how much of an audience there might be for it).

I have found the following

"The ticket hall structure wll be a mecca for events of all shapes and sizes, the rooftop will be an enchanting garden, bar and restaurant on the fashionable Brompton Road, whilst below ground will be a world class tourist attraction with groups of fifteen ushered down the drop-shafts round the clock for private tours of the mysterious, forgotten world below.

Minimal cosmetic restoration will be carried out so as not to compromise the authenticity and decaying charm of the former Command Centre from a bygone era. Visitors will even see the Piccadilly line trains racing through beyond the far platform, unbeknown to the millions of commuters who pass by in the darkness, every week.

Now, here's the science bit. Chambers has a vision of world-class ‘imagineering’; One that Walt Disney would have undoubtedly been proud of. Picture the scene. You're in a spooky underground chamber (excuse the pun!) and a phantom train glides into the platform. The doors slide open and a hoard of ghostly RAF servicemen spill out, hurrying to their stations. Here begins a sensational journey back in time, to an ethereal ghost station filled with the heroic spirits of a distant age. This hidden world will be created using the very latest projection and hologram technology, the likes of which haven't been seen in a city center visitor attraction environment before. A strategic mix of holograms and actors will combine to create a thriving underworld, accurately telling the stories of what happened in this deep warren of covert and secret tunnels. Corporate and consumer visitors will experience a fully operational Command Centre complete with a seventy year old underground railway, in full (holographic) use! Putting it bluntly, this will be a truly world class 'edutainment' focused visitor attraction to rival any other authentic experience anywhere in the world.

Indeed, when Chambers first ventured down there by torchlight (the first person who had done so for decades), he discovered a veritable Tutankhamen’s tomb of discarded treasures - huge industrial fans, gas masks, gas-sealed doors, even a cinema for the troops stationed there during the war…all of which you’ll soon be able to see for yourself."

Even if he can acquire the ownership of / a lease on the whole complex, how much is any necessary maintenance work and all the tech going to cost? And how much could you charge as an entrance fee? I trust he's done a good deal of research into that.

actually disused underground stations make fantastic nightclubs.

something about the accoustics in them.

went to a damn good rave down one of those 20 odd years ago.

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