For 20 years, millions of pounds of regeneration cash has been pumped into Bow in east London — but only now is it beginning to show. The former Bryant & May match factory has been turned into 700 new homes known as Bow Quarter, and the Georgian townhouses of Tredegar Square can now command prices that run into the millions.
The area has also seen considerable improvements on the back of the 2012 Olympics with major housing schemes by Berkeley Homes and Barratt London in place, while the dismal Crossways estate has been revamped and renamed Bow Cross, and gastropubs painted in Farrow & Ball colours have replaced smoky, old-fashioned corner boozers.
Get a foot on the ladder
Despite these seismic changes Bow remains one of the most affordable areas in Zone 2, and first-time buyers are being offered the chance to get a foot on the ladder here for as little as £55,000 with a new scheme, Essence, from Circle Housing Group.
For that you will be able to buy a 25 per cent share of a one-bedroom flat with a full market price of £220,000. Together with rental payments and service charge, the monthly cost is estimated at £686. Two-bedroom flats start at £68,250 for a 25 per cent share of a flat worth £336,000. The total monthly cost is estimated at £912. Three-bedroom flats start at £80,000 for a quarter share in a property with a market price of £320,000, with total monthly outgoings of about £966.
Essence will offer just over 200 homes, including 57 shared-ownership flats. The first residents to move in are expected in March or April next year.
There will be an on-site supermarket and several smaller shops, and all of the flats have private balconies. There is communal courtyard garden, plus a roof terrace with spectacular views over the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and the City. But the biggest plus point is location. Essence is being built just off the Roman Road, half a mile from Bow Road Tube station on the District and Hammersmith & City lines. This makes it a great choice for Square Mile workers, since it is five stops to Liverpool Street and half an hour to the West End. DLR services from nearby Bow Church station go to Canary Wharf, and the Central line from Mile End is about a mile away.
Essence will offer over 200 homes, including 57 shared-ownership flats (essence3.co.uk)
Vibrant and good value
Despite being in gritty east London green space is all around, with Victoria Park to the north, Mile End Park to the west, and the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park to the east. The area is a bit light on exciting retail opportunities although there are useful local shops and a couple of neighbourhood pubs, most notably those close to the very smart Tredegar Square, half a mile away. It is also handy for the Columbia Road Flower Market, Roman Road Market and G Kelly's noted eel and pie shop, while Broadway Market and Brick Lane, for nightlife and shopping, are less than two miles away.
Tim Seward, director of sales and marketing at Centra Living, said: "The scheme has great transport links. Secondly, it is right in the heart of Bow, near parks and the canal, and Bow is getting loads of new shops, cafés and restaurants. It feels really vibrant.
"Finally, I think it is an area with potential for value growth. There has been a lot of investment already, and it just feels like a place which is regenerating and gentrifying."