Gentrification can be determined with a Top Trumps-style checklist. A cold-pressed juice bar and street food scene are staples, alongside a farmer’s market for the weekend, yoga studios and some sort of dance party — ideally in a repurposed industrial space near an area which has been given new life under a fresh name. Forest Gate is the Hackney Fringe, South Tottenham becomes Upper Stokey and everyone knows Walthamstow is Awesomestow.
In south London, Croydon is on its way to hotspot status. It already has burgers and quinoa muffins, an art gallery set up by Damien Hirst’s dealer, called Rise, and there is a Silicon diaspora, with Croydon Tech City wooing young companies.
This summer, the Dingwall Road car park has been transformed into an outdoor cinema and next year these start-up stars will have even more places to go out — Boxpark is opening, with a Street Feast food market planned.
When Boxpark came to Shoreditch in 2011 it confirmed the area’s regeneration. Could it do the same in Croydon (or should that be Cro-do)? Certainly, the money mavens hope so: five billion is being invested in the area over the next five years.
“I want everyone to rethink their view of Croydon,” says Boxpark founder Roger Wade. The Croydon branch will have shops, restaurants and bars in 80 recycled shipping containers, and an event space for 2,000 people. Dan Beaumont, who is planning a branch of Dalston dance and pizza emporium Voodoo Ray’s there, says: “Croydon is a great location, right in the thick of it, with visionary and ambitious landlords. Food and drink businesses have a great impact on the local economy.”