London’s famous Trocadero is being turned into a mosque: Muslim billionaire wins permission for three-storey house of prayer and Islamic centre inside one of the UK’s most well-known entertainment complexes

  • Property tycoon Asif Aziz is building a three-storey mosque inside the Trocadero

    A Muslim billionaire is building a giant mosque in the heart of London‘s entertainment quarter, The Mail on Sunday can reveal.

    Asif Aziz, 56, a property tycoon known as ‘Mr West End’, is establishing the three-storey house of prayer and Islamic centre inside the Trocadero, which is situated between Piccadilly Circus and Soho.

    The three-storey house of prayer, which will have a capacity of 390 worshippers, will fill the space left vacant when a Metro cinema closed down in 2006.

    Previous proposals for a 1,000-capacity mosque on the site were withdrawn in 2020 following a backlash from residents as well as far-right groups.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.

    A council spokesperson confirmed to The Mail on Sunday: ‘A planning application by the Aziz Foundation to convert a part of the London Trocadero was approved by the council’s planning committee in May 2023.’ 

The Trocadero, London W1, which was – in May 2005 – bought for £220 milllion by Asif Aziz, who owns almost forty London properties. Pictured here in November 2011


It is thought that the mosque – which may be called ‘Piccadilly Prayer Space’ – could be open within months. But critics have questioned whether it should be built in an area filled with alcohol-serving bars, nightclubs and Soho’s gay venues and strip joints – all of which are shunned by Islam as sinful.

Built in 1896, the Trocadero is one of central London’s most famous entertainment complexes and also features an 11-storey, 490-room hotel called the Zedwell.

[booking_product_helper shortname="holidaybookings"]The building closed in 1965, ending its nearly seven-decade life as a restaurant.

It then reopened as an exhibition space in 1984, keeping its famed baroque façade, before arcade-style attractions were added in 1996.

Sponsorship from Pepsi and Sega helped the centre grow substantially through the late 1990s. 

By 1997, the Trocadero was home to the UK’s first 3D IMAX cinema.

Visitor numbers did not grow in step with the investment, however, and Sega backed away from sponsorship in 1999.

Segaworld was rebranded as Funland, the name it kept until it closed in 2011.

Five years after Pepsi stepped back from the Trocadero, Asif Aziz’s property company Criterion Capital bought up the building and shared plans to redevelop it.

Westminster Council approved the decision in 2012 but the Trocadero never again reached the same heights.

In 2020, plans were finally submitted to turn the basement into a mosque, which were withdrawn the first time around. 

Now, the Aziz Foundation said the mosque will serve Muslims who work in the area, as well as those visiting London as tourists.

Mr Aziz was described as Britain’s ‘meanest landlord’ at the height of the Covid lockdowns after threatening West End tenants, including chains like Caffe Concerto, with winding-up petitions if they did not pay their rent on time.

They couple reached an out-of-court settlement shortly afterwards.



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