Covent Garden is the real heart of the capital: lively, quirky and individual — and without the rough edges of Soho — it buzzes with the excitement of opera and theatre and the showmanship of its world-famous piazza, which attracts 45 million visitors a year.
For the first time since the closure of the historic fruit and veg market in 1974, a collection of new homes directly overlooking the piazza is on offer.
Several heritage buildings are being converted to residential use by Capital & Counties, the listed market area’s main landowner, whose masterplan for change includes a “modern luxury” retail quarter boasting top brands such as Burberry as well as new gastro hotspots.
The Henrietta is the first of the projects, set to spawn more than 50 homes for sale and rent.
“It marks a step up in quality for the area,” says Sarah-Jane Curtis, Capco director, formerly of Grosvenor Estate, where she helped steer the transformation of Belgravia’s Elizabeth Street and Ebury Street into prime addresses.
Stunning interior design is a match for the posh W1 and SW1 postcodes. A discreet entrance leads to a leather-lined lift opening directly into large apartments ranging from 1,800sq ft to 2,300sq ft, each with marble-clad bathrooms, Intervari high-gloss kitchen, black oak flooring, bespoke walnut joinery and an array of audio-visual creature comforts.
The three-bedroom duplex penthouse is already under offer, demonstrating that the in-your-face location can sustain chunky prices.
The scheme aspires to a new price record for the area — £2,500 per square foot — with homes in this phase starting at £5.75 million. Visit coventgardenliving.co.uk or call Savills on 020 7409 8756.
Coming soon are apartments at The Russell, currently occupied by a Lloyds Bank and a Pizza Hut, and The Beecham, opposite the Royal Opera House, while more modest homes are to be produced in upper parts above shops.
“Covent Garden is attracting bigger budgets from abroad but the buyers who really drive the market are Londoners aged 50-plus who are not short of cash and who like to live a bit,” says Jamie Gunning of estate agent EA Shaw (020 7240 2255), which has operated in the area since 1899. And because of Covent Garden’s close links with Theatreland, there are always actors and celebrities house hunting.
The bulk of the housing stock is made up of small-scale refurbishments, including warehouses, flats above commercial premises and some enviable purpose-built blocks.
Values have marched on during the last three years and the entry price for a flat is about £500,000. Rentals start at about £350 a week for a studio apartment.