The 2013 London marathon was a global advert for Greenwich, with the throng of runners setting off from the majestic park against a spectacular backdrop of Wren architecture, the Thames and Canary Wharf’s gleaming skyscrapers.
Less uplifting is the neglected strip between the town centre and Greenwich Peninsula, site of the O2 Arena. This run-down patch looks much like it did in the 1970s and includes waterfront sheds and breakers’ yards ripe for regeneration. When approached by road, the peninsula is uninviting and seems out on a limb because of the still-visible industrial legacy of gasworks and the busy Blackwall Tunnel approach.
These eyesores will take some years to be eliminated but Trafalgar Road, the main vehicle route out of Greenwich, is smartening up. Galleries, gastropubs and delis are opening, and just launched is Greenwich Square, a new residential and commercial hub on the site of former Greenwich District Hospital.
This eco-friendly scheme has 600 apartments and townhouses clustered around a public square and private courtyard gardens. It aims to be a new “community quarter” with civic buildings — a leisure centre, library and GP surgery — plus crèche, cafés and restaurants.
Completion is scheduled for 2016, and the first phase is now selling off-plan, a chance perhaps to buy early into an improving neighbourhood. Prices from £249,950. Call Savills on 0800 077 8177.
Eastbury House and Hampton House, Vauxhall
The Vauxhall hinterland is about to have its day in the sun as it quickly emerges as a hotspot due to mega regeneration at neighbouring Nine Elms and the Northern Line extension from Kennington to Battersea Power Station.
For many years the area has been less enticing than its central location might suggest. One reason is the gritty tract of land lying behind train tracks back from the river, where a few grim council estates give the area an edgy feel.
But change is afoot, with reincarnated railway arches becoming trendy retail spaces and restaurants. Vauxhall has a lively gay and club scene and the area is attracting creatives, including Brit Art star Damien Hirst, who has snapped up a gallery/warehouse space due to open in 2014.
Developer St James is gearing up for launches at Eastbury House and Hampton House, on Albert Embankment. Until now, this riverside strip has been lined with office blocks. Being close to the Palace of Westminster and in the congestion charge zone, it has the potential to be a more expensive address than Nine Elms, where 16,000 homes are in the pipeline. Call 020 7870 9620. A golf shot away on the north side of the river is The Courthouse, a redevelopment of Westminster Magistrates’ Court on Horseferry Road.
Remarkably, for many years this pocket of Westminster remained a residential secret but is now slipping on to the radar of homebuyers searching for a good-value address in the pricey SW1 postcode. Barratt is building 129 apartments priced from £640,000. Call 020 8326 7100.
The Textile Building, Hackney Village
New loft apartments are sprouting up outside the Clerkenwell and Shoreditch heartland, where the supply of former factories and warehouses ripe for conversion has been exhausted. The Textile Building in Hackney was where Burberry used to manufacture clothes and luxury goods to sell in its West End shops and international stores.
The factory, in Chatham Place, in the heart of the “Hackney Village” design and fashion hub (postcode E9), has been converted into 64 apartments with authentic-looking full-height windows mimicking the original steel-frame Crittall ones so beloved by architects. Interiors feature exposed brick and concrete walls and white, minimalist-design kitchens and bathrooms. Duplex penthouses have been launched. Prices from £535,000. Call Stirling Ackroyd on 020 7749 3800.
The Filaments, Wandsworth
The Filaments, formerly a gas mantle factory, is a new hub for Wandsworth town centre, a complex of seven blocks with 416 homes and work spaces for small businesses.
The low-cost commercial premises are aimed at local accountants, internet entrepreneurs, lawyers, architects and designers who want to be able to walk or cycle to work.
Prices from £320,000. Contact developer Mount Anvil on 0845 077 9770.