New homes in Stepney Green
Design creep spreading from Shoreditch is spurring developers to unlock fashionable new homes in East End areas emerging from the shadows. Vivo is part of a "new" neighbourhood at Stepney Green, where a council estate has been bulldozed to make way for 462 private and rented homes.
Stepney has long been neglected, but buyers are waking up to its convenient location — close to two Tube stations and equidistant from the City and Canary Wharf.
Thoughtful new architecture is enhancing an inner-city district that is easier on the eye than many newcomers expect. This part of London drips with history and is sprinkled with conservation areas and community spaces, while upgraded Regent's Canal and Mile End Park, a Lottery-funded monument to the millennium, are well-used leisure spaces.
Stepney Green (not the site of the city farm, but the street of the same name) is an unexpected gem. Behind the narrow strip of green, enclosed by railings, is a row of wonderful Queen Anne and Georgian houses in what is reputed to be the only blue-cobbled street left in south-east England. Vivo sits just on the edge of this conservation area and is a group of apartment blocks set around landscaped courtyards.
Developer First Base is sponsoring an East London Design Collection to support the area's young designers, who have helped to create the Fifties-style show flat. Individual pieces are also being displayed at nearby Genesis Cinema, a restored art deco venue, and are available to buy.
There is also a chance to win a designer piece by visiting vivolondon.com. Prices at Vivo start at £240,000 for a one-bedroom flat. Above-average interiors have underfloor heating. All the flats have outside space and some have roof terraces. Call Savills on 020 3069 2073.
Shared-ownership options are available through East Thames housing association. Two-bedroom apartments start at £72,000 for a 25 per cent share.
New homes near Aldgate
Goodman's Firleds, near Aldgate, is a 10-minute walk from the Bank of England and even closer to the Tower of London.
Before the banking collapse in 2008 it was a nondescript business estate occupied by RBS but now its new owner, Berkeley, is turning the seven-acre site into 920 homes, plus a hotel, shops and eateries, a new park and lusciously landscaped courtyards.
Apartments have projecting glass-walled winter gardens, while the characteristically swish interiors are by Johnson Naylor.
Silk House, the first phase, has just been launched. Prices from £435,000. Completion is due in September 2015. Call 020 3217 1000 for more details.
A new house on an exclusive private estate
Overseas money is pouring into Coombe Hill, an exclusive private estate which borders Wimbledon and Kingston upon Thames, but is still only 25 miles from the West End.
Well established and with excellent security that appeals to sophisticated residents, Coombe Hill has always had cachet; President Eisenhower lived in a cottage on the estate during the Second World War.
Ava House, a new three-storey house by award-winning architect Terry Pawson, sits around a sunny courtyard and offers three reception rooms, six bedrooms plus a pool, gym and sauna, and staff accommodation. Ava House is priced at £5.95 million, call Q Developments on 020 7223 1200.
Escape tax in Monaco's new homes
The principality of Monaco is reaching for the sky. Densely packed and roughly the same size as Hyde Park, it has ditched a harbour project to reclaim land and opted to build upwards instead as it constructs more homes. New high-rise buildings will accommodate the growing number of people who want to be part of this prized enclave on the French Riviera.
At 170 metres (49 storeys) high, Tour Odeon will be one of the tallest residential towers in Europe. The sculpted glass skyscraper will have 70 apartments, two duplexes and a five-storey penthouse with rooftop swimming pool.
Completion is due next year, and prices start at £4.61 million — which developer Marzocco Group points out is cheaper in pounds per square foot than Knightsbridge. Most buyers are expected to be London-based business people or entrepreneurs who want a tax refuge and a glamorous lifestyle. Visit odeon.mc or call Knight Frank on 020 7861 1057 for more details.
Monaco has 30,000 residents and residency permits have to be renewed every three years. The authorities say they want to change the principality's fat cat image, encourage more tax transparency and promote Monaco's safe haven/high-security status. There are more police officers — one for every 60 people — there than anywhere else in the world.