Stay ahead of the game
London’s lively development scene is transforming the capital with the continuing rise of south and east London; a revitalised West End; canalside regeneration; and hotspots sparked by transport improvements. Here are five emerging districts that are likely to sparkle on the market this year.
Bounded by New Oxford Street, Charing Cross Road and St Giles High Street, this uninviting patch of the West End is to be reinvented as East Soho, bringing designer homes and offices to a district that is 15 per cent cheaper than neighbouring Bloomsbury and Covent Garden.
The core area, next to Centre Point, comprises a mix of ugly Sixties buildings and pedestrian-unfriendly streets, where junkies and beggars used to loiter. Work has started on Central St Giles, a 375,000sq ft mixed-use scheme designed by celebrated architect Renzo Piano. It will include 109 apartments, to be launched this spring. Call EA Shaw on 020 7240 2255.
“It’s a bit of a no-man’s land at the moment but as the area emerges there will be a flow of much-needed new homes,” says Lisa Hollands of local agent EA Shaw.
WC1 prices have raced ahead over the past two years, closing the value gap with prime areas such as Chelsea. Hollands believes the area will continue to out-perform because of Theatreland’s appeal among affluent creative buyers. Modest one-bedroom flats already sell for more than £500,000.
City Road Basin
In Islington, the triangle formed by Essex Road, New North Road and City Road in N1 has no name but a distinct identity. Dissected by Regent’s Canal, it is a classic inner-city neighbourhood, with charming Georgian terraces, older council estates, small business premises, canalside warehouses, factory lofts and a live/work community.
Development has taken hold around nine-acre City Road Basin and there is much more to come. The Square Mile is a 15-minute walk away and City types and creatives are moving in.
Islington council’s vision for City Road Basin alone includes 900 flats, offices, restaurants, bars, business barges, a hotel, civic space, a watersports club and pleasure moorings.
Wenlock Building is a scheme of new canalside apartments by developer Londonewcastle — 55 flats, including penthouses, with interiors designed by Tara Bernerd’s Target Living. They are priced from £440,000 to £1.5 million. Call Hurford Salvi Carr on 020 7791 7071.
Angel Waterside is another avant-garde development. Prices range from £425,000 to £900,000. For more information, call Grove Manor Homes on 020 7359 5259.
In a few years’ time, a big residential community will be living along this stretch of canal and the area could well be on a par with prime Islington squares. Estate agents claim it is still undervalued by as much as 15 per cent.
Dominated by the imposing and derelict Battersea Power Station, Nine Elms is the last remaining strip of unregenerated riverside land in central London.
Viewed from the Thames it looks stuck in a Seventies timewarp. The shell of the power station towers over industrial sheds and working wharves — a stark contrast to the posh Pimlico waterfront on the opposite bank of the Thames.
No other central district provides such a large-scale development opportunity to create a new riverbank neighbourhood.
Mayor Ken Livingstone has approved a development framework for the area, postcode SW8. Already, two “book-end” residential developments — St George Wharf at the Vauxhall end and Chelsea Bridge Wharf at the Battersea end — have helped give Nine Elms a fresh identity.
Irish developer Treasury Holdings, new owner of the power station and 32 precious acres that surround it, has ditched the old idea of it becoming an “iconic” leisure destination; instead the £2 billion project will have a mix of new homes and offices plus “the normal stuff people do at weekends — culture, entertainment, shopping”.
Wandsworth council and English Heritage have yet to be won over but the planning signals are positive and the scheme is tipped to get off the ground later this year.
Nearby, traders at the 56-acre New Covent Garden Market are backed by a development consortium seeking to transform their site into a giant office complex aimed at the media industry, plus hundreds of homes and hotels, restaurants and cafés built around a civic square. There will be a continuing market presence.
A huge Royal Mail depot is another development candidate, and housebuilders are trying to snap up parcels of neighbouring land. Meanwhile, Barratt is building Viridian — 181 flats priced from £295,000. Call 020 3177 1052.
A decade-long planning wrangle will come to an end in March, when a public inquiry will decide between two redevelopment proposals for Croydon. Whichever scheme is chosen — one by Arrowcroft includes a 12,500-seat arena; the other is a residential-led project by Stanhope-Schroders — it will kickstart long-overdue regeneration of the Sixties-built town centre.
The local council is lobbying for city status and has set up a £450 million development fund. Separately, about £3.5 billion of private investment has already been earmarked for projects that include a 44-storey residential tower.
Architect Will Alsop has designed a green makeover for Croydon — one early proposal is to bring back the River Wandle to the surface after it was buried below concrete 40 years ago.
Under the plan, 20,000 new homes will be built, boosting the town centre’s present population of only 5,000.
Already there are 20-minute train links to Victoria and London Bridge, plus round-the-clock services to Gatwick. By 2010, Croydon will be hooked up to the Tube network via the extended East London overground line.
Altitude 25 on Fairfield Road is another residential scheme quick off the blocks. This is an oval-shaped tower of 236 flats. Penthouses priced from £750,000 have already been launched. Call 0800 032 7720.
Cutting into the Thames at Greenwich, this neglected industrial waterway is largely inaccessible and lined with ugly warehouses. But it is also an enclave for artists and designers.
A derelict eight-acre site at the mouth of Deptford Creek, SE10, is to be transformed into a dazzling scheme called New Capital Quay, one of the best undeveloped riverside locations in London.
Up to 1,000 homes are being built alongside new riverside bars and restaurants, a heritage museum, workspace, shops and galleries. About 630 of the flats are for private sale, with the first completions due in 2011. Prices start at £495,000 for two-bedroom flats. Call Galliard Homes on 020 7620 1500.
Laban Centre, a contemporary dance school, has helped put the area on the map. Occupying an ex-rubbish dump, it will become part of a new creative quarter called Creekside Village, SE8, a complex of more than 800 high-rise flats and 250,000sq ft of commercial space. Flats will go on sale later this year. Call DTZ on 020 7710 8116.