Masterplan for the City of London revealed: thousands of homes, bars, cafés and hotels set to transform the Square Mile into a 24-hour hotspot
The City of London Corporation is in talks with six borough councils in a bid to deliver nearly 4,000 new homes for people employed in the historic banking district, Homes & Property can reveal.
The body that manages land and buildings in the City has confirmed it is holding meetings with Southwark, Islington, Hackney, Tower Hamlets, Lewisham and Lambeth boroughs where it owns nine post-war social housing estates, as well as the two it owns in the City, to discuss how more homes can be built on each site.
Two small schemes are already under way in the Square Mile itself. One is in Middlesex Street, near Aldgate East, and is set to deliver 10 homes. The other is on the Golden Lane Estate, where 66 new homes will be built.
“The City Corporation is a social landlord with 2,793 homes within 11 housing estates across the City of London and six London boroughs,” said a spokesman for the Corporation.
“We are currently developing a range of projects to ensure that we deliver an additional 3,700 much-needed extra homes, across a range of tenures, for Londoners as soon as possible.”
Attracting the top young talent
The pace of building new homes in the City is increasing. There were 690 new completions between 2014 and last year, according to Savills, and there are currently five schemes there either under construction or with planning permission that will deliver 580 new-build units.
But the City has limited space. “There is a lot of resistance to putting residential schemes in the heart of the City,” one property analyst told Homes & Property.
“If homes were created in its commercial core it would take up much-needed space for more offices.”
Broadgate Circle is a new office complex built around a basin-like events space (HayesDavidson)
Currently it only has 7,400 residents compared with 480,000 workers, and many do not stay full time.
“In order to maintain its status as the premier international business centre it needs to attract the best talent, and to do that must offer people reasonably priced housing nearby,” explains Ian Anderson, head of development at property consultants Cushman Wakefield.
It’s not just about affordable accommodation. To draw in the smartest young people in banking, technology and creative services, the City needs nightlife, culture and entertainment.
“The vibrancy of Shoreditch, Old Street and Commercial Road has spread into the City,” says Philip Lewis, director of the Tower 42 Estate, home to 50 international companies and 3,500 people over two acres.
“To attract the best talent in the world you need to create a place where they can work close to brands they like.”
Putting in the best brands
The arrival of the hotel, bar and members club The Ned, sister venture to Soho House, signalled a shift in the City’s social scene.
“There are now 20 restaurants around The Ned, and its busiest day is Saturday,” says Carolyn Dwyer of the City of London Corporation.
“It’s been a real driver for our night-time and weekend economy.”
Only last year the Tower 42 Estate transformed the humble alleyway running next to the City’s first skyscraper into a retail avenue dotted with quirky brands including gastropub Broadleaf, Italian restaurant Scarpetta and Pilgrims Pizza joint, which started life as a pizza van.
British Land has a masterplan that will bring 4.9 million square feet of shops, restaurants and bars to the Broadgate area.
At the plan’s heart is Broadgate Circle, a new office complex built around a basin-like events space.
The developer has welcomed restaurants and shops to suit a young techie workforce, such as Franco Manca pizza chain and speakeasy Mrs Fogg’s Maritime Club & Distillery.
Last autumn the Corporation launched its first transport strategy, which will see the Square Mile mostly pedestrianised and cycling encouraged in a push to cut pollution and encourage wellbeing and walking.
Another major initiative is the creation of the cultural mile from Farringdon to Moorgate. The Museum of London will relocate to the old general market building close to the Barbican, already home to the London Symphony Orchestra.
On the south side of the City, Billingsgate, Smithfield and Spitalfields markets will be combined into one mega market.
Luxurious living in the Square Mile
Due to limited space, the residential blocks that spring up in the City tend to be luxurious boutique schemes such as Barts Square in West Smithfield.
Prices for one of the 92 apartments across three blocks range from £770,000 to £4.5 million for a three-bedroom penthouse.
The varying price tags are dictated by the views: some apartments look towards the domes of St Paul’s and the Old Bailey; the historic courtyards of St Bartholomew Church, or Grade II-listed Barts Hospital.
From £770,000: apartments at Barts Square, West Smithfield, with landmark City views and residents private bar, cinema and dining rooms. Through Savills (020 7531 2500)
Residents will have access to a communal lounge and bar, private dining, meeting rooms and a private cinema room.
Properties are available through Savills on 020 7531 2500.
The Denizen on Golden Lane and close to Moorgate station has one-, two- and three-bedroom flats with a games room, cycle storage and 24-hour concierge. Prices start from £725,000. Call 020 7531 2500 for more information.
More choice on the city fringe
Only last week, planning was approved for a £600 million project in Old Kent Road.
Landowner Aviva Investors with developer Galliard Homes will regenerate an old retail park into a mixed-used scheme. The proposals include a 48- storey residential tower, which will be the fourth tallest in London, designed around a new public square, pedestrian boulevards, piazzas and a new park.
In a joint venture partnership with L&Q, developer Mount Anvil has launched the second phase of The Silk District in Whitechapel, offering 100 studios, one-, two-, and three-bedroom apartments in The Georgette North, a five-minute walk from Whitechapel station — which is soon to become a Crossrail hub.
Average price of a second-hand home in the City: £817,909 (Source: Savills)
Average price of a second-hand City fringe home: £801,050 (Source: Savills)
Housing estates owned by the City of London (number of homes in brackets): Avondale Square (662) Dron House (80) Windsor House (104) Isleden House (77) Sydenham Hill (87) Holloway (182) York Way (275) Southwark (411) William Blake (126)
Within the Square Mile: Golden Lane (563) Middlesex Street (226)
Prices at The Georgette North start from £510,000 for a studio apartment. For further information, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 020 3930 4287.
A more expensive scheme is being launched on the edge of the City opposite the Royal Courts of Justice.
The two-bedroom apartments in the Strand Chambers block have open-plan kitchens and living spaces, plus courtyards and terraces.
The penthouse apartment has three bedrooms and is spread across the fourth and fifth floors. Each of the penthouse bedrooms comes with an en suite bathroom, and two also have their own dressing rooms.
These luxurious homes are available through Jackson-Stops on 020 7664 6649. Prices range from £950,000 to £3.5 million.