Hundreds of new homes have been unveiled at a prized riverside plot next to Tower Bridge. The site is next door to City Hall, close to where, in 2003, illusionist David Blaine famously endured 44 days without food in a glass box suspended above the Thames.
'Tower Bridge is arguably London's most iconic landmark and will be centre stage in this Olympic year'
Berkeley, the developer, has owned the land for 10 years but progress was delayed due to planning wrangles about the style of architecture, impact on views and the future of neighbouring green space, Potters Fields.
A deal was struck with Southwark council and building has begun on the project, which will bring 350 private apartments and 43 affordable homes for City of London Corporation.
A listed Victorian school on the site will be converted into a five-star hotel, while a 67,000sq ft "cultural space" and performance venue is also being created.
Most familiar landmark
The cluster of eight buildings faces the Tower of London across the Thames and includes a 20-storey tower with one apartment on each floor. Two blocks have been released for sale - called Tudor and Windsor - with prices starting at £700,000 for a one-bedroom flat, while two-bedroom apartments are from £1 million.
In later phases, higher apartments with river-view terraces are expected to fetch more than £2,000 a square foot, smashing the price record for the SE1 postcode.
"Tower Bridge is arguably London's most iconic landmark," says John Hall, Berkeley director. "It's instantly recognised around the globe and will be centre stage in this Olympic year."
Berkeley promises residents hi-tech specification, including "keyless" entry to apartments, remote-control heating and lighting via their iPhones, and a touch screen-command car park that will deliver their car from a stacker system underground (parking spaces cost £100,000).
Squire and Partners, the architect, has varied the design from block to block. Windsor House mimics the warehouse buildings of neighbouring Shad Thames, while the river-facing apartments are modern-looking with extensive glazing and sky gardens.
Rupert Dawes of estate agent Knight Frank says the new apartment complex will be a "sparkling addition to the 'string of pearls' along the South Bank cultural quarter".
The scheme is not gated and will integrate with the riverside promenade and a public park. High-quality landscaping will include a "fountain clock". Apartments released for sale will be ready in 2014. Buyers have to make three staged payments of 10 per cent and pay the 70 per cent balance on completion. Harrods is operating the concierge service, and there will be a private health club. Visit www.onetowerbridge.co.uk or call 020 7871 0011.