Anyone following the current spread of new developments cropping up around London could be forgiven for thinking the market on City Road is over-saturated. This long stretch off of Old Street roundabout has attracted a seriously impressive number of developers, which is partly a success story for Tech City (the government-backed initiative to create a digital business hub on the outskirts of the City) or Hackney, which outstripped Mayfair in terms of growth last year. Either way, the investability of this canalside area has led sales agent Knight Frank to predict residential values will jump from £1,000 per sqft to £1,500 per sqft by next year.
Enter one of the UK’s biggest housebuilders, Berkeley Homes, which has jumped on board in a big way. Its project, entitled 250 City Road, will be the biggest and tallest development of them all, comprising 930 apartments and penthouses. These will be spread across eight buildings – including two landmark towers – designed by architects at Foster + Partners, the practice behind some of London’s most recognisable buildings including the Gherkin, City Hall, Canary Wharf’s new station, and headquarters for Ernst & Young and HSBC. The aim is to create a “waterside neighbourhood” with shops, restaurants, a four star hotel and office space.
“250 City Road will form the centrepiece of this vibrant area,” says Piers Clanford, managing director of Berkeley Homes North East London, “It’s virtually unrivalled in terms of proximity to the capital’s most dynamic employment hubs and creative districts. It also has the bonus of being located in one of the capital’s most established residential postcodes a short distance from popular neighbourhoods like Hoxton and Shoreditch.”
It’s an intimidating undertaking, but one that’s finally coming to fruition, with the first phase of 263 apartments went on sale last week, including the tallest building in the project – a 42-storey skyscraper – and a luxury hotel. Berkeley has yet to find a hotel operator, but it hopes to set a high standard with the specification of its homes. Three interior design firms – Scott Brownrigg, Goddard Littlefair and Darling Associates – will come up with a selection of design palettes, and a collection of “Platinum Residences” will come fitted with expensive extras like surround sound and natural stone worktops. All residents can expect a balcony, terrace or winter garden and access to a rooftop gym, spa and private courtyard, decked out to resemble a “woodland copse”.
Playing up to the tech businesses in the area, Berkeley’s two acres of landscaped gardens will be completely wi-fi-enabled to entice budding app designers to work outside its buildings, or to hire some studio space, which is being reserved especially for start-up companies.
By the time Crossrail services pull into neighbouring Farringdon station in 2018, Berkeley won’t be the only developer hoping City Road will be a thriving modern neighbourhood.
For more information on the scheme, contact Berkeley Homes on 020 3040 6250 or visit 250cityroad.co.uk. Sales enquiries can be directed at Stirling Ackroyd on 020 7749 3810 or visit stiringackroyd.com.