Canary Wharf, the heart of London’s Docklands, is making a healthy return to the market with a dozen major schemes planned to its northern and eastern reaches. The expansion will create a new skyline of even towers and will double Canary Wharf’s working population by 2025.
On the back of the Crossrail link coming on line in 2017/18, which will join Canary Wharf to the west of London, and to Heathrow, forecasters say the area is set to mature into a major new residential location.
Home buyers might be playing a waiting game after the financial crisis caused up to 30 per cent to be wiped off the value of some developments bought off-plan, but analysts say square-foot values in Canary Wharf could rise by a third to about £800 or even £1,000 — which would still be good value compared with central London.
Canary Wharf’s housing market has been quietly readjusting since the dark days following the collapse of Lehman Brothers. With the arrival of JP Morgan and Shell the local working population passed 100,000 for the first time last year, with the area now accommodating more bankers than the City of London.
And whereas the original Canary Wharf estate was geared towards giant office buildings for banks and financial services companies, the future development pipeline — more than nine million sq ft of space, the largest construction programme in London — has a far larger residential element.
Families have largely avoided the area due to a lack of good-size houses with gardens, while others think so much new build can be soulless. But the next generation of development will be much more mixed.
Twenty-acre Wood Wharf is the most notable of these big new projects. To be built over 10 years, it will have 2,000 homes in four new waterfront neighbourhoods, two parks, the area’s first school and a new high street linking Canary Wharf to Isle of Dogs.
“Canary Wharf is more than a global financial centre, it is an exciting cultural and lifestyle district which is helping shift the capital’s centre of gravity eastwards,” says architect Terry Farrell, Wood Wharf masterplanner.
Two decades after arriving on the map as a business district, the area is finally maturing into an attractive residential address, with good local amenities and transport.
The Jubilee line provides quick connections to the West End and South Bank. And although Crossrail will give quick access to Heathrow, bankers and lawyers can now fly direct to New York on British Airways business-class flights from London City Airport, just around the river bend from Canary Wharf.
Despite shrinking bonuses, this pocket of E14 is London’s highest- paying postcode, with an average male salary in excess of £100,000, giving developers the confidence to build designer apartments and crashpads.
As elsewhere in London, Isle of Dogs has a number of micro markets, of which Canary Wharf is one. The latter is a 97-acre enclave, with its own “ring of steel” (private security cordon) enclosing office and retail space, including four shopping malls and numerous bars and restaurants.
There are relatively few homes within this distinct commercial quarter but hundreds within the “halo” — a 10-minute walk of the dealing rooms. This extended zone is the most sought-after, boasting walk-to-work convenience and the best of the older and new apartment schemes.
Coming soon is Dollar Bay, a 31-storey residential tower at West India Dock. This will have 121 waterside apartments with glazed winter gardens for year-round use and unrestricted views west and east. At the top of the building is a 6,000 sq ft triplex penthouse with sky garden. To register, call Londonewcastle on 020 7534 1888.
Storeys with a twist
Plans have been submitted for the UK’s second tallest tower on the site of the City Pride pub at Westferry Circus. Chalegrove Properties wants to build a 75-storey block with 864 flats, while developer Galliard has snapped up Baltimore Wharf, on a prime plot where the doomed London Arena once stood. Next to Crossharbour DLR station, it is another architectural treat for Docklands, a design by Skidmore Owens Merrill, a Chicago-based firm whose speciality is slick skyscrapers.
The first phase of 473 apartments is complete. The next is 46-storey Crossharbour Tower, a “twisting” structure with 330 flats and spectacular penthouses. Prices from £300,000. Call 020 7620 1500. Much is being made of the scheme’s “lifestyle” credentials — waterfront restaurants and bars, a creche, convenience stores, 24-hour concierge, private security and valet parking. And instead of a mere gym and spa, there is an “urban country club” — The Baltimore Club — offering virtual-reality golf and clay pigeon shooting.
Millharbour, across the dock, used to be occupied by low-rise business estates built in the early Eighties, another example of how the development scene has changed. Lincoln Plaza, one of the new residential towers soon to rise on this land, has 380 flats available now off-plan. Prices from £300,000. Call 020 7620 1500.