Demand for London property, from both residents and investors, shows no sign of abating, even with prices continuing to rise. Prime Central London property is the most valued in the world and as real estate in the area becomes increasingly scarce or out of financial reach, the idea of what is “central” also continues to change. With the Nine Elms regeneration in full swing, and other farther flung locations gaining investment traction, more and more developers are proudly showing off their non-core advantages.
FABRICA and Mount Anvil are among the developers that see great potential in Vauxhall, located on the south side of the Thames. One of the best-connected neighbourhoods in the district, Vauxhall is smack in the middle of the 195-acre regeneration area, and since 2010 its price performance has rivalled that of PCL. Part of the so-called Vauxhall-Nine Elms-Battersea Opportunity Area (VNEB), Vauxhall itself is a short walk across the river to parliament and Victoria and near the burgeoning embassy quarter, putting it in a prime rental position.
“This is just on the other side of the railway line. It’s a Zone 1 location. You’re five minutes’ walk from the overground and underground station at Vauxhall, so you’ve got National Rail as well as the underground,” says Emma Fletcher-Brewer, partner in residential development for Knight Frank in London. “With Nine Elms there’s obviously going to be an extension to the Northern Line and a new station at Battersea.”
Average prices in Vauxhall have risen nearly 70 percent since January 2010 — ahead of PCL’s 45 percent and the UK average of 20. The area is set for massive infrastructure redesign with an eye to creating a pedestrian-friendly town centre with more public spaces, cycle paths, shopping and dining. The VNEB spans Wandsworth and Lambeth and the new inter-connected developments will ultimately create a vibrant south bank hub of retailing, offices and residences accommodating 25,000 new jobs and 18,000 homes. Brownfield sites are slated to be rejuvenated as green spaces, including the planned Linear Park, which will continuously link Battersea in the west to Vauxhall in the east. Just some of the residential projects coming to VNEB are St James’ The Corniche, Ballymore’s Embassy Gardens, CLS Holdings’ Vauxhall Square and Dalian Wanda’s One Nine Elms.
For investors the renewed infrastructure, transit connections (King’s Cross St Pancras Station is 10 minutes away, Victoria Station just two) and schools and abundant green space make the area primed for continued capital growth. Rental demand is also strong. “A key factor in capital growth is that many of the developments around here are at a very different price point for various reasons,” theorises Mimi Capas, director and head of international project marketing for Knight Frank in Hong Kong. “Battersea Power Station is iconic but it’s £2,000 per square foot now. [Keybridge] already has the infrastructure, good-looking buildings and the interiors are going to be spectacular. The neighbouring Aykon has Versace interiors, so that’s £1,600, £1,700 per square foot.”
Key to the Castle
Capas is indeed referring to FABRICA/Mount Anvil’s Keybridge, set to be the tallest residential brick structure in the area when completed in late-2017. Standing out for its old-school brick construction (most new developments opt for glass curtain walls) Keybridge will comprise the 37-storey Keybridge Loft and the complementing eight-storey Keybridge House. The project will have 441 residences in total, studio flats to three-bedroom suites and penthouses ranging from approximately 400 to 2,300 square feet. “The idea behind the whole development was the New York skyscraper. They took the concept and ideas from the Meatpacking District in New York and focused on giving it a sort of loft-y, warehouse feel,” explains Fletcher-Brewer. “It’s got a funky edge to it … As a result there are three colour palettes: a neutral, a bronze and a pewter that are quite unique.”
Designed by architects Allies & Morrison (BBC Media Village at White City, Two Pancras Square, King’s Cross), the elegant brick façade reflects the area’s industrial history while creating contemporary lifestyle homes. “The lofts will tower over towards the parks so you can see the oval, beautiful views across the river. You can see Big Ben, Westminster, the London Eye and around the east you’ve got the city,” adds Fletcher-Brewer. “There are views at every aspect, so you’ll see all the regeneration happening within Nine Elms and on the north and east you’ve got existing iconic buildings.” Among the project’s amenities will be a spa, gym, swimming pool, a lounge equipped with hot desks, meeting spaces and concierge services. Keybridge Lofts and House make up the first phase of the development, which will feature more residences and school among other properties in phase two.
“Knowing what the future of Vauxhall looks like, and the future of Nine Elms, Battersea Power Station and Embassy Gardens … You’ve got a real community. It’s completely changing the area and I think 10 years ago you would never have known it,” finishes Capas. Prices at Keybridge start at approximately £487,000 (HK$5.8 million).