* New inner-city villages are emerging in Victoria, Covent Garden and Fitzrovia; the latest residential schemes include Kingsgate House, formerly Westminster city council town hall; The Russell in Covent Garden; and Rathbone Lofts in Fitzrovia
A new breed of landlord is taking a lead from the old aristocratic landowners who turned places such as Belgravia, Chelsea and Marylebone into such sought-after areas in which to live.
The new landlords are City giants: property companies, such as Derwent, Land Securities and Capco, which have been buying land and buildings, sometimes over decades, as part of a masterplan to create well-balanced districts with a good mix of shops, businesses and homes — to buy or rent.
Town planners call it “place-making”. A triumphant example is the 67-acre King’s Cross Central, where developer Argent is building a new district on once-blighted railway land — 50 new buildings, 2,000 new homes, 20 new streets, 10 new public squares, a place where, eventually, 45,000 people will live and work.
View houses and flats for sale in VictoriaProperty values are increasing in line with the area’s new status, but are still below those of other addresses in the prized SW1 postcode. Coming soon are 100 apartments at redeveloped Kingsgate House, formerly Westminster city council town hall. Call 020 7413 9000.
Other new developments in the area include The Courthouse in Horseferry Road — prices from £640,000, call DTZ on 020 3296 4044 — and Abell & Cleland in Page Street, with prices from £1.8 million, call Berkeley Homes on 020 7720 4000. Visit landsecurities.com.
Covent Garden: lively and quirky
For many people, Covent Garden is the beating heart of the capital: lively, quirky and individual, it buzzes with the excitement of opera, ballet and theatre and the showmanship of its world-famous piazza which attracts 45 million visitors a year.
For the first time since the closure of the historic fruit and vegetable market in 1974, a collection of new homes directly overlooking the piazza is on offer. Several heritage buildings will become homes in the listed colonnade market and the dozens of surrounding buildings that developer Capco swooped to buy in 2006 — one of the smartest property acquisitions of recent decades. With 60 buildings and 380 individual premises under its control, Capco seized the opportunity to take Covent Garden upmarket.
Formerly of aristocratic property giant Grosvenor, she learned there the important skill of managing communities and played a big part in turning Belgravia’s Pimlico Road, Elizabeth Street and Ebury Street into pleasurable destinations.