Focus On Victoria: A £4bn investment has completely changed the area from dowdy offices to shiny penthouses and hip restaurants

Melissa York
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Nova, Victoria

If the Queen’s getting a £369m refurbishment of Buckingham Palace, it seems only fair that the neighbourhood surrounding it should get a polish, too. £4bn should just about cover it, and that’s how much has been invested in the area by developer Land Securities over the last five years. Around £700m of that has gone on revamping the train station, a major terminus that’s also set to be a hub for Crossrail 2, if current proposals go ahead.

Traditionally, the areas around big rail stations haven’t made desirable places to live and Victoria was no exception. Tall, grey, faceless office blocks characterised much of its property stock for decades and the retail offering was pretty poor, making it one of the cheapest spots in central London.

Now, new homes make up two thirds of all sales in the area, with £262m changing hands in the resi market in 2017, more than twice the amount on the year before, according to figures compiled by David Fell, research analyst at Hamptons International. He nods to Nova, where penthouses go for £8m, and “facadism”, described as “schemes that keep the front of the building while knocking down everything behind.

We have seen a big influx of prime tenants ranging from CEOs to Middle Eastern royalty

Developers are increasing using 19th century grandeur to conceal living space designed for the 21st century.” Good transport links – it’s on the Victoria and Circle lines in Zone One, as well as a being a gateway to the south of England and Gatwick Aiport – are only going to get better with the refurbishment of Victoria coach station, too. This makes it the perfect place for a London bolthole, says Tom Bond from UK Sotheby’s International Realty, who is seeing “a significant number of buyers from the commuter hotspots including Surrey and Berkshire, who are seeing a convenient second home in the capital.”

Hamilton at the Victoria Palace Theatre

The influx of new homes and better transport has also made it a popular place for premium lets, according to Jo Eccles from SP Property Group. “We have seen a big influx of prime tenants ranging from CEOs to Middle Eastern royalty. They or their relocation agents are specifically targeting Victoria as a location and the most popular buildings are 44 Victoria Street and Nova, with steady demand for rental properties in the £1,000 to £3,500 a week range.”

With new businesses moving in – Deutsche Bank, Tom Ford, Google and the UK’s new National Cyber Security Centre – as well as new residents, top names in retail and hospitality have been lured to the area, from Molten Brown to Michelin-starred chef Jason Atherton’s latest restaurant Hai Cenato.

“People no longer walk through Victoria to get to their destination, but choose to stay to enjoy the exciting array of new restaurants and shops, which is drawing a young crowd,” says Martin Bikhit from Kay & Co. But traditionalists will still find secluded enclaves of 18th century terraced housing tucked behind Victoria Street, and according to Kirsty Sugden of Dexters Westminster, “surrounding Westminster Cathedral are a host of red-brick mansion blocks dating from the Victorian and Edwardian period.”

Mostly, Victoria is known for its diverse housing stock and bright future. “You may find a one bedroom flat for £550,000 around the corner from a £20m townhouse,” Sugden adds.

Boisdale Belgravia

Area highlights

One of London’s most highly-anticipated musicals, Hamilton, took up residence in the refurbished Victoria Palace Theatre last year and it’s the hottest ticket in town. A view of Westminster Cathedral, the mother Catholic Church for England and Wales with stripped back Byzantine-style architecture, is often a perk of buying property in Victoria. A Royal Park, St James’s, is right on your doorstep for picturesque jogs and the changing of the guard. For robust Scottish fare and a fine cigar, Boisdale of Belgravia is only a few paces away from Victoria Station and has an impressive selection of whisky on offer, too. Cardinal Place is one of many new shopping havens on Victoria Street, but has a particularly good food offering, with a food market every Thursday lunchtime. Full to the brim, waddle over to the Curzon Victoria on the same street to take in a film in one of its comfy sofa seats. Then check out the new restaurant quarter around the Nova building.

Area guide

House prices Source: Zoopla





Transport Source: TfL

Time to Canary Wharf: 20 mins

Time to Monument: 13 mins

Nearest train station: Victoria

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