Stunning new riverside homes along London's Victoria, Albert and Chelsea embankments

A masterplan will create new contemporary apartments and curvy skyscrapers, parks and promenades along London's riverside embankments
Chelsea Embankment
© Alamy
Chelsea Embankment is one of the three embankments being transformed in a vision that is not so very far removed from Christopher Wren's plan for the riverside after the Great fire of London, 1666
* London’s historic embankments — Victoria, Albert and Chelsea — are to be transformed in a regeneration scheme that will replace existing post-Blitz office blocks with smart new homes, parks and promenades — plus a new walkway over the Thames to Battersea.

* The area spans from Blackfriars to the Houses of Parliament, from Millbank to Cheyne Walk, and from Lambeth Palace to Vauxhall Cross.

* Riverwalk House, St George's Square, Merano Residences and Carmelite Riverside are just some of the new developments being launched this year.

Christopher Wren was the first to produce a masterplan for London’s riverside following the Great Fire in 1666. He proposed draining surrounding marshland to create grand promenades and carriageways along the river with a series of raised terraces on which would stand large houses and palaces at strategic points. Today’s vision is not so different, with architectural towers stretching as high as the surrounding Georgian church spires.

The capital’s three embankments run from Blackfriars to the Houses of Parliament, from Millbank to Cheyne Walk, and from Lambeth Palace to Vauxhall Cross. Despite their prized locations and world-famous landmarks, many sections of these embankments have been marred by ugly and outdated office blocks breaking up their continuity.

View houses and flats for sale in Pimlico
Property values in Pimlico

Sixties block Riverwalk House bulldozed

Until recently, Riverwalk House, along from Tate Britain and soaring Millbank Tower, was occupied by the Government Office for London. The Sixties building has now been bulldozed to make way for two new blocks, one 17 storeys high, connected by a central podium, providing 113 homes.

A street-level restaurant and gallery is planned. The site includes Locking Piece, a bronze sculpture by Henry Moore. Call Knight Frank on 020 7861 5499.

The former Elephant on the River restaurant at 135 Grosvenor Road is being redeveloped into a modern, glass-clad block of eight flats. Contact Richland Group on 020 7887 6349.

The proposed pedestrian bridge will be a fillip to this part of Pimlico, which has failed to command the status of posh Cheyne Walk, only a little further west. The bridge will provide a direct link to the emerging Nine Elms district on the south bank as well as triggering more development on the north side.

The Plaza scheme at Albert Embankment
The Plaza scheme at Albert Embankment, by St James

Facelift and new homes for Pimlico

Pimlico is already getting a facelift. The sprawling Churchill Gardens council estate (1,600 homes in 32 blocks) facing the Thames has been designated a conservation area and part listed, while Dolphin Square, the 1,250-apartment complex built in the Thirties, is being rejuvenated following a change of owner, and long-tenanted flats are coming up.

And coming soon to a river-facing building at St George’s Square, actually a long and narrow rectangle of imposing, cream-coloured stucco townhouses, is a refurbishment project bringing another 10 apartments.

A charming quarter: Victoria Embankment

Victoria Embankment was built partly to relieve congestion on the Strand and in Fleet Street. Historic buildings in quiet streets and cul-de-sacs set back from the embankment are being converted or reverting to residential.

The Adelphi conservation area is one of London’s oldest and most charming quarters. The Royal Society of Arts in John Adam Street denotes the area’s academic heritage, and surrounding it are some delightful listed Georgian townhouses.

At 19 Buckingham Street, 11 generous-size one- and two-bedroom apartments (up to 1,482sq ft) have been created. They offer tasteful, classic-style interiors, with bespoke kitchens and furniture by royal designer David Linley. Call Jackson-Stops & Staff on 020 7664 6649.

20 Albert Embankment
Norman Foster's design for the redevelopment of 20 Albert Embankment has his signature curved balconies (020 8246 4160)
Carmelite Riverside at 50 Victoria Embankment is getting a makeover. This building was constructed in 1897 for Lord Northcliffe’s Associated Newspapers. Redeveloped in the Nineties, it is now getting a replacement façade and roof extension with terraces added. There will be 135,000sq ft of office space plus apartments.

The Temple area of Victoria Embankment is also being rejuvenated. A slab of nondescript office blocks between Arundel Street and Essex Street is being swept away. Here Berkeley Group has a new courtyard complex of 206 apartments. To register, call 020 7118 9190.

Craven Street, which cuts down to Victoria Embankment from The Strand, has some of London’s oldest townhouses, now being brought back to life after being offices. Apartments have been carved out of listed Aria House, including a three-bedroom penthouse with great river views that extends above the Playhouse Theatre next door. Call 020 7240 2255.

Merano Residences
Merano Residences, with 48 apartments in 28 storeys, launches this year on the Albert Embankment (020 8246 4160)

View houses and flats for sale at Albert Embankment

All change south of the river at Albert Embankment

The biggest change is on the south side of the river, at Albert Embankment, which for many years has been less enticing than its central riverside location might suggest. “Starchitects” Richard Rogers and Norman Foster are creating showpiece designs commissioned by developer St James.

Foster & Partners’ scheme is at 20 Albert Embankment with 253 flats and sky gardens in three curvy skyscrapers (up to 27 storeys) plus amenities, offices and restaurants. Merano Residences (by Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners) has 48 apartments in a three-bay building rising to 28 storeys. At the base of the building is a four-storey public space. Both schemes launch later this year. Call 020 8246 4160.

Also on this strip is the former London Fire Brigade headquarters, where a mixed-use scheme of 265 luxury apartments and retail space is proposed. Renamed Florian Place, the listed frontage will remain, with new blocks and a piazza created behind. Amenities will include extensive roof gardens, a club room and tennis court. Call Native Land on 020 7349 7228.

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