In Victorian times, Soho was a murky and dangerous district. Home to London’s original red light district, it was the place where the gentry mixed with poverty-stricken artists. Nowadays, you’re more likely to bump into an advertising executive sipping a mocktail than a lady of the night, but it’s still a thriving cultural hub with film studios, cutting edge cuisine and art galleries around every corner.
Perhaps this is why its newest homes – due to be finished next month – are going down so well with native Brits. After just a few months of discreet off-plan selling, five apartments have been sold to domestic buyers at 15 Hollen Street.
“British buyers just get the area and know what a vibrant location it is,” says Aly Gray, sales manager for the development’s agents Knight Frank. “They know it’s a short walk from Mayfair, there’s loads going on in the way of bars and nightlife and Crossrail is certainly a key selling point.”
Location, as always, is paramount and this collection of one, two and three bedroom apartments situated in a prime spot off Wardour Street, is only a five minute walk from Crossrail’s much-anticipated transport hub at Tottenham Court Road.
Following the closure of cabaret club Madame Jojo’s, there’s been much talk of Soho losing its singular identity and character to property development. But Gray doesn’t think such criticism should be levelled at 15 Hollen Street as a small-scale, discreet renovation of an existing residential building. Architects at Darling Associates, who have also worked on offices on Fenchurch Street and Fetter Lane, have restored the facade of the building to blend in with its surroundings.
Interior designers at Johnson Naylor – currently working on the transformation of Battersea Power Station and King’s Cross – are hard at work dressing one of the penthouses to make it fit for potential buyers’ eyes.
But a nod to 15 Hollen Street’s Dickensian roots will welcome its newest residents in the form of a specially commissioned sculpture by British artist Charlotte Kingsnorth. Entitled Ribbon of Gold, it celebrates the extinct trades of Soho, from organ makers to goldbeaters who hammered strands of gold into gold leaf. “This work,” she explains, “immortalises the story of Soho in brass, bringing it to life and honouring the artistic community.”
Prices at 15 Hollen Street start at £1.5m for a one bed apartment. Call Knight Frank on 020 7861 5499