West Enders have been suffering the blight of the flattened Middlesex Hospital site for three years but now plans have been unveiled for a new £750m scheme for this prime hotspot on three acres in Fitzrovia.
The architects describe an “atmospheric courtyard” developement with a cluster of mid-rise blocks, significantly higher than the period buildings around them.
The hospital’s original listed Victorian chapel will be preserved as part of the project, and there will also be about 250 top-end flats, as well as 57 affordable homes for low-income buyers plus shops, a primary school and GP surgery.
If planning permission is won work could start next year and be completed by 2014.
The affordable portion falls some way short of the 50 per cent aspiration for affordable homes set out in the draft London Plan, but is a significant improvement on many central London schemes: the developers behind the South Bank’s glitzy NEO Bankside recently dropped affordable housing provision altogether in favour of a cash payment to Southwark Council.
The Middlesex Hospital closed in 2005, and top end developers the Candy & Candy brothers planned to turn it into Noho Square, in partnership with Icelandic bank Kaupthing. When the bank collapsed in 2008 so did the project, leaving a gaping hole in the heart of central London.
Aviva Investors and Exemplar Properties came to the rescue with the weak pound encouraging wealthy international buyers to invest in real estate in prime areas.
Clive Bush, Co-Founding Partner of Exemplar, said: “The former Middlesex Hospital site offers a rare and exciting opportunity to promote and define an important part of Central London.”