Borough Market will become trophy attraction with £300-million redevelopment plans for nearby Vinopolis site

Foodie favourite Borough Market has been transformed over the last 10 years. Now, three acres of local heartland are being redeveloped to bring new apartments and Covent Garden-style fashion boutiques.
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The journey from rough-edged fringe to über-fashionable has taken Borough no more than a blink of an eye, or so it seems. This transformation has not been restricted to the foodie heaven of buzzing and colourful Borough Market, either — it includes a wider wedge of postcode SE1, stretching between the Thames and Elephant & Castle.

Now Borough is set to move up a notch further, with a £300 million project complementing its thriving food and restaurant scene — a redevelopment of the very place that first sparked the area’s renaissance 16 years ago. The revamp will see dozens of Covent Garden-style fashion boutiques, an art house cinema, a private members club, loft offices and apartments move into the area.

The three-acre site includes a shabby car park but also a network of magnificent vaulted Victorian railway arches now occupied by Vinopolis, the specialist wine and whisky centre that has been tempted out of the area and will move to new central London premises.

When Vinopolis opened in Borough in 1999, it tripped a switch and lit up this forgotten area, full of character buildings and old warehouses. 


The man behind the district’s next chapter is Tom Sherwood, a small developer who cut his teeth on local schemes. He has secured a deal backed by Meyer Bergman, an investment fund management firm whose trophy assets include Burlington Arcade in Mayfair, Whiteleys in Queensway and buildings along Bond Street, as well as the Champs-Élysées in Paris.

Sherwood’s plan is to turn the railway arches, warehouses and courtyards into shopping streets, with a public square and new passageways. The area’s original Elizabethan street names — such as Dirty Lane and Soap Yard — will be revived, although Whore’s Nest is likely to be left in the history books.

Some say Borough Market has been losing its way, with higher rents pushing out long-standing, quirky stallholders in favour of more upscale traders. But 44-year-old Sherwood insists his project will be entirely in keeping with the cobbled streets and artisan feel of the area, and will dovetail with the existing food market. 
Home advantage: property developer Tom Sherwood lives in SE1 and has big plans for the area's future

“For all its pulling power, Southwark lacks fashion and needs a wider mix of shops,” he explains. “We’re creating as many as 50 new spaces and predict a ripple effect that will continue through the back streets of SE1.”

This is the Tate Modern/Globe/Shard hinterland, a prime central address, whether it is the City or the West End that looms large in your life. Sitting alongside upgraded London Bridge station, the area has become a huge business and tourist hub, attracting some 50 million people a year. Southwark council is set to approve the project in the autumn.

New homes for old
All this cements Borough’s rise as a residential zone and comes at a time when a second wave of new housing is hitting the streets.
When Borough first “arrived” as a residential area about a decade ago, new homes were niche, mainly small warehouse and office conversions, and were bought by loft-loving locals who knew the area. 

Now, bigger-budget buyers from posher parts of town are descending. Yet despite its growing cachet, Borough might still be considered good value for money. Typically, new homes in the area start at about £450,000 and range from £800 and £1,200 a square foot, lower than most other Zone 1 neighbourhoods.

Crest Nicholson has three new schemes launching soon, including a redevelopment of Brandon House, a prominent corner building opposite Borough Tube station that will contain 100 homes — both flats and townhouses. 

Snowsfields Yard, a short stroll from the Shard, has 28 flats plus rooftop gardens. To register, call 0800 883 8014.

The third development, Two Fifty One, in Southwark Bridge Road, has 335 high-rise flats in a 41-storey tower, completing in 2017. The tower will have a wifi-enabled business and home-working lounge-cum-café, alongside a private cinema club, gym and other amenities. Views from the upper floors are spectacular and many apartments have glazed winter gardens. Prices start at £450,000. Call DTZ on 020 3468 9251.
Corner club: 100 apartments and townhouses will be available at the redeveloped Brandon House. Call 0800 883 8014

Borough Place in Marshalsea Road is a smaller scheme of two- and three-bedroom apartments, including a penthouse with a 430sq ft roof terrace. Prices from £975,000. Call Greene & Co on 020 7604 3200. Check out Great Suffolk Street, which runs all the way to Trinity Church Square — a splendid Georgian conservation area popular with Guy’s surgeons and barristers. For many years, this patch was deemed the wrong side of the tracks, but architects and design companies are moving into refurbished premises while small plots are being redeveloped into flats.

The Music Box in Union Street, beside Gordon Ramsay’s Union Street Café, is a block of 55 apartments above the new home for London Centre of Contemporary Music and the National  Youth Jazz Orchestra. Prices from £760,000. Call Taylor Wimpey on 020 7355 8150.

From £760,000: there are 55 modern flats at The Music Box in Union Street. Call 020 7355 8150

Sherwood's rise to the big time
Developer Tom Sherwood, 44, shifted into property 10 years ago. After a career in advertising, he changed direction supported by his wife, Jules, an interior decorator. His first project was a three-flat scheme in Bermondsey, followed by a pub conversion, both before the 2008 banking crash. He then moved on to bigger projects, including a factory redevelopment, and spent three years assembling the constituent plots for the Vinopolis deal.

Sherwood has also bought a 50,000sq ft office building as well as smaller commercial units, and is backing two new restaurants close to foodie Bermondsey Street.

He lives in SE1 during the week. “Living here helps me understand the area better than most,” he says. But at the weekend, he retreats to the family home, a honey-coloured stone farmhouse in the Cotswolds.

Sherwood has a property tip for the future — he says overspill markets have emerged at Maltby Street and Druid Street in Bermondsey, which is fuelling gentrification in these grittier parts. He says he is already on the lookout for development opportunities in this patch.

Photography: Daniel Lynch

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