The book retailer, now part of HMV Media Group and chaired by founder Tim Waterstone, is keen to attract strong evening trade to the store. It feels the West End location, close to London's theatre land, would suit a modern, chic eaterie. The company is likely to link up with an established restaurant group to operate the location, though no talks have yet taken place.
Waterstone's is expected to exchange contracts on the Simpson's store this week. The company is holding a "brainstorming session" with its creative advisors today to develop ideas on other innovations that could be included.
An art house cinema was thought to be under consideration but that is now considered unlikely. However, Waterstone's is keen to include other innovations in addition to the more common features of book superstores such as a coffee shop, lounge areas and computer terminals offering Internet access.
The move is part of a wave of superstore bookshop development across the country. Waterstone's opened its first superstore in Glasgow a year ago and is planning several more.