The first 800 properties at the 39-acre site are coming to the market much earlier than expected, offering an opportunity to buy off-plan, with completion of this first phase scheduled for 2016.
SP Setia and Sime Darby, the Malaysian developers who outbid Chelsea FC owner Roman Ambramovich in September 2012 to buy the derelict site for £400 million, plan to build more than 3,400 homes around the iconic art deco power station, which was built in 1933 and remains Europe’s largest brick building. As part of what has become London’s biggest ever planning application, approval has been given for a retail complex to be created inside the old station. Construction work on the first phase of homes could start as early as this spring.
"Undoubtedly this is the most exciting new chapter in the story of London and quite possibly the last time the capital will see the creation of a completely new district, built where none existed before"A new Tube station in Battersea
The project has been boosted by the Coalition Government’s £1 billion support for a Northern line extension to Battersea. This will bring two new stations, one at Vauxhall-Nine Elms and another at the power station site itself.
Redevelopment of the site is a key part of a new waterfront neighbourhood of 16,000 homes earmarked for Nine Elms, which is seen as central London’s last significant regeneration zone, about a mile from the Palace of Westminster and Sloane Square. As many as 26,000 people are expected to work in this new district.
This development ends a long- running saga of abortive attempts by different owners to rescue the site, since the power station was closed 40 years ago. In the Eighties, tycoon John Broome produced plans to turn it into a theme park. The last owner went bust owing creditors £520 million.
A quarter of a mile of river frontage
Instead of bulldozing the power station, the new owners will retain its shell and chimney stacks and create the new retail plaza within the brick structure.
Architect Rafael Vinoly’s masterplan is for a balanced mix of residential and commercial space, the latter accounting for 43 per cent in the form of shops, galleries, offices, hotels and leisure facilities. The site has a quarter-mile of river frontage facing Chelsea. A new promenade will link with a six-acre park providing direct access to Battersea Park.
Circus West, the first phase, comprises eight residential blocks up to 17 storeys high with a range of accommodation — studios, larger apartments, penthouses and townhouses. Prices start at £338,000.
All apartments will have enclosed winter gardens providing usable year-round outside space, and there will be a David Linley-designed residents club and a spa.
Six more phases are planned and the project is expected to take between 10 and 15 years to build, depending on the rate of sales, according to Rob Tincknell, chief executive of the development company. They expect to sell the first 800 homes this year.
Other Nine Elms schemes are coming on stream earlier. Riverlight by developer St James will have 802 apartments and the next phase, with 250 flats, will be launched in the spring with completion next year. The homes will be in six pavilion buildings with external glass lifts. To register, call 020 7870 9620.
Embassy Gardens, with 1,982 homes, will form a horseshoe around the new US embassy, due to open in 2017. Buildings will vary in height and character, with designs strongly influenced by the architecture of New York’s Meatpacking District and London’s Edwardian mansion blocks — constructed of brick rather than glass and steel, to suggest permanence and solidity.
It will have a resort-style spa, a private club and business centre plus bars and a restaurant. Ballymore, the developer, has also signed up Waitrose, a badge of middle-class affluence. Call 0800 404 9009.
London’s last new district
“Undoubtedly this is the most exciting new chapter in the story of London and quite possibly the last time the capital will see the creation of a completely new district, built where none existed before,” says architect Terry Farrell.
In a recent “hotspot” report, Knight Frank forecast that values in the Nine Elms area will rise by 140 per cent (to £2,250 a square foot) by 2016.
“Nine Elms will change faster and more dramatically than any other part of London over the next decade,” says Ravi Govindia, leader of Wandsworth council.
The makeover will take up to 20 years, meaning homebuyers will have to commit to the longer term if they are to reap the benefits of better amenities and infrastructure. Resale values may be held back by the sheer number of new homes becoming available.
Rob Tincknell says the power station’s iconic status sets the site apart from other Nine Elms developments. The building is awesome and there is value in that, having dominated the horizon for nearly 90 years. People are fascinated by it and want to be part of it. We also have the great advantage of a Northern line station within the site.
“Because it is such a big and long-term project we have to be committed to creating a proper place, otherwise it won’t succeed. It will be a diverse community, with authenticity and character. We see it becoming a new town centre, not just for Nine Elms but for Battersea and Chelsea, too. ”
For more details, call 020 7501 0678 or visit batterseapowerstation.co.uk.