Trocadero to house Islamic centre and prayer space
Businessman Asif Aziz will turn the Trocadero, between Piccadilly Circus and Soho in central London, into a place of worship that can accommodate 390 people
The Trocadero was bought by Aziz in 2005 for £220 million
A three-storey Islamic centre and prayer space will be built in London’s West End after the project was approved by authorities, reports said.
Businessman Asif Aziz will turn the Trocadero, between Piccadilly Circus and Soho in central London, into a place of worship that can accommodate 390 people.
The Trocadero was one of London’s landmark entertainment complexes and was previously home to a 490-room hotel called the Zedwell, and later, Metro cinema, before it closed down in 2006.
The Trocadero first opened in 1896 as a restaurant, which closed in 1965. It reopened in 1984 as an exhibition and entertainment space, with the building sponsored by Sega.
It was downscaled in 2011 before part of the building reopened as a hotel in 2020.
The building was bought by Aziz in 2005 for £220 million.
Known as “Mr West End”, Aziz is said to own and manage a billion-pound portfolio across the city and the south east England.
His company, Criterion Caption, boasts 15 commercial buildings in London’s West End, the Docklands and Croydon.
The 56-year-old will be developing the centre, which will be known as Piccadilly Prayer Space, under his charitable organisation, the Asif Aziz Foundation. It is expected to open within months.
Previous proposals for a 1,000-capacity mosque on the site were withdrawn in 2020 following objections from residents as well as far-right groups.
But a planning application for a smaller development was approved at the end of May by Westminster Council.
Some critics have questioned whether it should be built in an area surrounded by alcohol-serving bars, nightclubs and Soho’s gay venues and strip joints.
The Asif Aziz Foundation said the entire facility would not be a mosque and that it will serve to facilitate interfaith dialogue.
“The factually incorrect and grossly exaggerated headlines have either suggested the entire Trocadero building is being converted into a mosque or that a three-storey mosque is being constructed. Both are false,” the Aziz foundation said.
“While the centre will provide an area for prayer, it is also anticipated this development will nurture much needed interfaith dialogue and in turn bring faith communities and community groups together utilising available space,” the statement added.