London's new East End project

Timberyard UK

No one needs to hear any more about the UK’s strong property market fundamentals, London’s superior gateway city status, its post-Brexit resilience and how little the newly “re-elected” Theresa May coalition will impact it after the Tories gambled away their majority government. “While the outcome of the UK general election has not been decisive, thus causing further political uncertainty, the appeal of the UK market is unlikely to be significantly diminished from an Asian business or investors’ point of view,” theorises Knight Frank’s Asia Pacific head of research, Nicholas Holt. “With the full political fall-out from the election yet to be seen, some decisions may be put on hold. However, the depreciation of the sterling could counteract that to a certain extent, as investors pull the trigger to take advantage of the weaker pound.” Not much shakes London. But what continues to be remarkable is the city’s endless ability to reinvent itself without pulverising its identity and razing its history to the ground. King’s Cross, White City, Battersea, Old Street and Greenwich Peninsula are just a handful of the 130 regeneration projects currently underway in London — with Lendlease’s 4.7 - hectare The Timberyard joining the club.

Past, present and future
Australian mega-developer Lendlease, like dozens of other developers from around the globe, hasn’t found a reason to abandon Old Blighty just yet, and with The Timberyard in the historic Deptford district, it has found precisely the kind of ambitious, transformative project it does best.

“We do big, complex sites. As an organisation it’s what we like. We’re about place-making. It’s not just about buildings,” begins Richard Cook, head of residential for Lendlease Development, which was also behind the regeneration of Elephant & Castle in Southwark and Glasshouse Gardens in Stratford. “It’s about the ground-play, the public realm, the amenities we create. That’s important to us and that’s our differentiator I think.”


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Located in southeast London across from Canary Wharf and the O2 Arena, Deptford is the latest destination for hip Londoners in the tech and creative industries. Also in the area is the Hutchinson Whampoa-owned Convoys Wharf, rumoured to be up for mixed-use redevelopment, and British Land is currently planning a large-scale rejuvenation just up the street. Deptford’s history is rooted in shipping and shipbuilding: Henry VIII founded The Royal Dockyard in 1513. Various docks are named for the product coming into the UK on the old Surrey Canal they handled (Canadian wood, New Zealand wool), legendary seaman Sir Francis Drake was knighted on the river, and Deptford was the departure point for the notorious HMS Bounty. And that’s the tip of the iceberg. “There’s a lot of history in the area that we try to capture in the project as well. The architecture is very much warehouse-style, and we’ve tried to mimic that 17th century history,” notes Cook.

Deptford’s unique character is possibly best summed up by its local watering hole, The Victoria pub. Lendlease was convinced to restore the old pub by the community and the Lewisham Borough Council as a way to maintain a physical link with the area’s history. It will be needed too: The Timberyard is a mixed-use project, incorporating 100,000 square feet of commercial space for start-ups and tech firms, retailing, and F&B.


“Deptford is probably where what I like to call the trendy part of London, Shoreditch, was 10 years ago. Shoreditch is getting so expensive, the smaller companies are moving out and moving down to Deptford. The advantage of offices is that it ensures the scheme is vibrant during the day as well as in the evening,” argues Cook. 

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Rebirth of a neighbourhood
As the first phase of four that will ultimately be home to over 1,100 residences, Cedarwood Square comprises 203 homes: one- to four-bedroom flats and roughly 50 four-bedroom townhouses. Built around a central green spine that will link the entire project, Deptford and The Timberyard are notable for boasting the kind of urban greenery typically found on the north side of the river.

The Zone 2 address sits minutes from New Cross, Deptford, Canada Water and Greenwich Tube and train stations, and a 10-minute riverside walk to water taxis. Perhaps most notable about Cedarwood Square is its relative affordability. “It’s attractive for people starting out on the housing ladder. It’s attractive to investors, because they’re renting to people who can’t afford to live in Canary Wharf,” says Cook. “London is very much about affordability now, and this project isn’t relying on Canary Wharf, it’s relying on the housing shortfall. The areas that are doing really well now are… at this price point.


Now, £450,000 for a one-bedroom is classified as affordable. And if you’re looking at yields, you’ll do much better on the south side of the river.” Of London’s submarkets, Deptford has one of the strongest prices per square foot, some of the best capital value appreciation projections, and gross yields are forecast for approximately 5.25%. And the tenant pool is strong and stable.

“Certainly if you’re buying something in Zone 2 close to infrastructure, it’s enormously appealing for tenants,” states James Hall, managing director for international properties at Colliers International in Hong Kong. “A two-bedroom, two-bathroom unit appeals to locals, whether it’s two students or two young professionals, it’s just as attractive. Those are the most desirable from an investor’s perspective.”

Cedarwood Square boasts high-quality, contemporary interiors, with engineered timber flooring, floor-to-ceiling double glazed windows, Grohe and Bosch fixtures, energy-efficient electrical fittings, balconies, terraces or gardens, as well as its signature courtyards and landscaping. But it’s the surrounding area that makes The Timberyard truly appealing. Independent coffee shops, neighbourhood grocers, fringe art venues, and one of London’s most colourful flea markets give it a vivid personality.

Flats at Cedarwood Square range in size from 554 to 1,042 square feet, and are priced beginning at approximately £750 (HK$7,600) per square foot. Cedarwood Square is scheduled for completion in mid-2019.

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