Let’s face it, if anyone can bring glamour to up-and-coming Hackney, it is developer Harry Handelsman, the “king of Clerkenwell cool” and the man behind the glorious restoration of St Pancras Chambers.
The boss of Manhattan Loft Corporation has a knack of gambling successfully on areas other developers will not touch and he has cherry-picked a gritty part of east London for his next high-profile project — a £100 million collaboration with architect David Adjaye, with whom he shares an office in Marylebone.
The aim is to create a world-leading fashion “mecca” in Hackney town centre, with more than 70,000sq ft of retail space for local and international brands, a café, restaurant and design studios.
Billed as “the UK’s first inner-city fashion outlet centre”, the scheme “captures Hackney’s creative energy and will give locals a sense of pride in their built environment”, said David Adjaye. Work has started on converting railway arches on Morning Lane and on replacing temporary structures used by Pringle and Aquascutum with permanent premises.
Burberry’s former factory in Chatham Place, which is part of this “design village”, has been converted into 64 loft-style apartments. Interiors feature exposed brick and concrete walls and minimalist-design kitchens and bathrooms. Duplex penthouses have been launched. Prices from £535,000. Call Stirling Ackroyd on 020 7749 3800.
It's not just Cabinet ministers and senior civil servants who live in Whitehall. Soho Housing, a charity that provides affordable accommodation for lower-income central London workers such as performing artists, theatre staff and market traders, is offering homes at 35 Whitehall, a refurbishment of four flats above a souvenir shop, with a rare view of Nelson’s Column and Trafalgar Square. Call Ashwell Rogers on 020 7734 7766.
Another development at Hanway Place, off Tottenham Court Road, has five affordable flats and a penthouse for market rent. To qualify, applicants have to be earning about £26,000 a year and have been living or working in the West End for at least four years. Singles get priority.
The housing association has 750 properties, including mansion blocks in Charing Cross Road and in Bloomsbury. “Our remit is to provide housing to people linked to West End industries, not to those with social problems,” said boss Joe Chambers. Visit sohoha.org.uk