A weekly round up of the latest planning and property news from the central London boroughs
Camden New Journal reports that Councillors are debating the future of Euston – which is facing a revamp due to HS2 rail works – and were told to be “more ambitious” and not to be short-changed on housing and open space. The area has been criticised for lacking soul and charm, and more often for returning less than 650 affordable homes on such a large opportunity site. These criticisms has led to council chiefs being asked to demand more this time around, as the area around Euston station is flattened and rebuilt. Carol Hardy, who has lived on the nearby Regent’s Park estate for more than 50 years, told the meeting: “We need to ensure the right schools and businesses are there, lots of jobs and facilities for local people. Not that it just gets sold off. We need that community sense that it’s not just somewhere to live, but somewhere to be proud of.”
Architects Journal reports that yhe Public Accounts Committee’s latest report says that failings to ‘make key decisions on the High Speed 2’s (HS2’s) Euston station design and approach to construction’ risks pushing up the cost of the project and delaying the line. The cross-party group of MPs warns that ‘urgent action is needed if the whole programme is to be delivered on time’ . ‘We are increasingly alarmed by the lack of progress in developing Euston station,’ the report states. It adds: ‘The department has made little progress on the design and delivery at Euston since we last reported, and we remain concerned that time is running out.’. Proposed design revisions being explored include reducing the number of platforms from 11 to 10 and building the station in one stage instead of two.
Property Week reports that Workspace Group has sold 13-17 Fitzroy Street in the Fitzrovia district of London’s West End for £92m. The office property, which is vacant, was sold at a 3.2% discount to the 31 March 2021 valuation and at a capital value of £993/sq ft. It comprises 92,700 sq ft of lettable space on the lower ground, ground and six upper floors. Graham Clemett, chief executive officer of Workspace, said: “Fitzroy Street has been a useful and secure source of income over the past four years. With Arup vacating as expected in June, now is the right time to sell this asset and recycle the capital into the other exciting project and acquisition opportunities, which we believe will generate superior value for shareholders.”
City of London
Architects Journal reports that the final decision on whether the Foster + Partners-designed Tulip tourist attraction is granted planning permission has been pushed back until next month. The Planning Inspectorate has now informed parties that a decision will be made by 14 October. Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said the tower was ‘not of sufficient quality’ to be added to the capital’s skyline, adding that it ‘did not represent world-class architecture’ and would have ‘very limited public benefit’. However, Foster + Partners partner Robert Harrison told the planning inquiry last year: ‘We have created a form which is ambitious and original; organic, carefully articulated and – I firmly believe – beautiful.’ If approved, the Tulip would be built next to the Gherkin, providing 12 storeys of bar, restaurant, viewing and educational space in its glazed ‘bud’. Tourists would also be able to embark on cabin rides around the outside of the tower.
Architects Journal reports that Alison Brooks Architects has unveiled plans for a 35-storey tower and 14-storey block by the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in east London. The buildings – which will be submitted for planning shortly – will form part of the International Quarter London, a strip of land between the park and the Westfield shopping centre, where Lendlease is developing a mixed-use campus. The hexagonal high-rises will be clad with blue glazed tiles and brick and contain 350 new homes above colonnaded ground floors with community and retail space. The developer also said the towers would ‘draw on the link between wellbeing, green space and opportunity’ – as they incorporate green roofs, planted terraces as well as ‘park ledges’ allowing greenery to spiral up them.
My London reports that 15 Clerkenwell Close has won two Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) awards despite surviving three successive demolition orders from Islington Council. The first was in 2013, when the building was granted planning permission: a local argued that concrete was being used instead of brick, as specified in the application. The second came after the building was constructed in 2017. Again, the striking façade was the bone of contention: the notice said that the structure must be rebuilt in brick. The most recent escape from the bulldozer came in early 2018 when Islington Council issued a demolition order for the £4.65 million building, again claiming that it differed from the designs that they had initially approved. Despite continuing to polarise opinion, 15 Clerkenwell Close is now well-established as one of London’s most acclaimed modern buildings.
Property Week reveals that Knight Frank and CBRE have been appointed by IV Real Estate to sell 14 Clerkenwell Close, a newly refurbished office building in Farringdon, for a guide price of £9.1m, representing a net initial yield of 4.9%. The property, which spans 8,695 sq ft of office space over five floors, is fully let on five- to ten-year leases and generates £480,000 per annum in rental income, or £54.99/sq ft. It was also fully refurbished last year to feature a range of amenities such as a communal roof terrace, bike storage and shower and changing facilities. Advertising platform Adform leases 41% of the building, with design consultancy Acumen and change consultancy Grayce taking 31% and 28% of the property’s lettable space respectively.
Kensington and Chelsea
Daily Mail reports that A three-bedroom mews property on one London’s most beautiful and ‘Instagrammable’ streets has gone on the market for £3.95 million. With its wisteria backdrop and Grade II-listed arches providing the perfect frame for a photoshoot, Kynance Mews is a favourite among social media stars. Kynance Mews, which dates back to the 17th century, has also been featured as a location in several major films and is regularly featured on lists of the most Instagrammable streets in London. Recently renovated and on the market with Lurot Brand, this particular property is larger than most on the street spanning over 1000 sqft.
London News Online reports that local groups have expressed an interest in buying Notting Hill Police Station, which could prevent it being sold off for private use. The Mayor’s Office of Policing and Crime (MOPC) wants to sell the building on Ladbroke Road to make financial savings but local residents and politicians were outraged by the MOPC’s plan to sell the station. Kensington and Chelsea council wants to prevent the station from being turned into luxury housing and has listed it as an asset of community value. Cllr Johnny Thalassites, lead member for planning for Kensington and Chelsea said: “Thankfully, the police station’s status as an asset of community value has delayed the sale for six months, allowing the community time to raise funds and place a bid for the property.”
The Guardian reports that the Northern line extension opens to carry passengers to new stops at Nine Elms and Battersea Power Station. Taking six years of construction and testing, and a longer period again of design and planning, the £1.1bn project – adding nearly two miles of tunnel as well as the two stations – has put the dramatically changing area of south London on the Tube map.About 25,000 new jobs and more than 20,000 new homes will have resulted from the investment, according to TfL, with Battersea now a 15-minute direct ride from the City and West End. TfL has also said Nine Elms station could have 479 new rental homes built above and around it, 40% of which will be categorised as affordable.
Architects Journal reports that Foster + Partners’ plans for an 11-storey hotel in London’s Mayfair have been cancelled after the developer pulled out. The 84-bed scheme for the upmarket hotel group Cheval Blanc, owned by fashion giant Louis Vuitton Moët Hennessy (LVMH), was approved in 2019 by Westminster Council. But the developer has now confirmed the project for 8-14 Grafton Street, 22-24 Bruton Lane and 163-164 New Bond Street will not be going ahead. The plot consists of three predominantly office-use buildings, including 163 New Bond Street. Under the planned scheme, this building and the others on site, owned by property developer O&H Group, would have been demolished to make way for the hotel development, which also included flats and shops.
Property Week reports that Hines has sold a 20,000 sq ft West End office building to a joint venture between real estate investment manager Heitman and Greycoat. The five-storey building at 15 Suffolk Street, which was sold on behalf of Hines European Core Fund (HECF), was built in the 1950s and acquired by Hines for HECF in 2007. The property is now let to office adviser Stonehage Fleming. Simone Pozzato, fund manager of Hines European Core Fund, said: “We are seeing renewed appetite for London offices as employees return, with future-proofed workplaces offering attractive investment prospects and the potential to deliver strong returns to clients.”
Property Week reports that WPP has let 60,000 sq ft at 121-141 Westbourne Terrace, in Paddington, to Future Publishing, publisher of magazines such as Horse & Hound and MacLife. Future Publishing, which also owns the GoCompare website, has signed a 14-year lease with a break option at the seventh year. All other terms of the deal remain confidential. Mark Kleinman, director at James Andrew International, which represented WPP on the letting, said: “The building was recently refurbished to provide bright, open-plan office accommodation with the benefit of 4m floor-to-ceiling height.”]
Building reports that Mace has been appointed construction manager on a super-prime residential scheme in Mayfair masterminded by billionaire John Caudwell. The Audley Square development from Caudwell – best known as founder of the retailer Phones4U – will include five townhouses, three penthouses, a mews home and 21 flats. It has been drawn up by Robert AM Stern Architects, the New York architect behind 15 Central Park West, which is considered one of Manhattan’s most desirable addresses and the technical architect on the job is EPR.