The £8bn regeneration of the iconic Battersea Power Station is helping thrust the area back into the spotlight
Battersea is set to become the most sought after address in London. It is one of the capital’s biggest regeneration zones, initiated by Boris Johnson’s decision to approve the transformation of the famous Battersea Power Station. The move is part of the Mayor of London’s “2020 vision”, in which he is calling for “urgent and bold” action to deliver an additional 400,000 new homes in the capital in the next seven years.
A Malaysian company bought the site in 2012 for a reported £8bn. It enlisted Uruguayan architect Rafael Vindy to transform the derelict spot into a multi-use complex offering 16,000 new homes along with public parks and modern promenades. The residential limb of the development, called Circus West, is comprised of a broad selection of apartment types ranging from studios priced at £338,000 to penthouse suites for £6m.
The new 450-acre neighbourhood will not open until 2016, but in January buyers and investors queued in the bitterly cold weather to get in early in what looks set to be the top residential site in London. Foreign investors have already bought 824 of the 866 apartments.
The redevelopment is special for many reasons. Leading experts predict it will be the last time we see the creation of a completely new district where none had existed before and the changes also mark a second coming for Battersea. The area was first a fashionable address back in the 90s but quickly became overshadowed by its affluent neighbours and later, the flourishing creative scene in east London. The redevelopment of the power station has helped thrust Battersea back into the spotlight.
The American government’s announcement in 2008 that it will move its embassy to the area is expected to result in more hotels popping up to cater for the surge in international visitors. Other embassies are expected to follow suit.
Battersea has also resurrected its creative credentials. The Royal College of Art, once situated in Kensington, has relocated to Battersea Bridge Road and Vivienne Westwood, Victoria Beckham, Simon Fuller’s XIX Entertainment and architects Foster & Partners all have offices there.
Battersea doesn’t have an underground station, which has long been a deal breaker for those who had previously considered buying there, but an extension of the Northern Line will help unlock its full potential. The station will be located outside both Battersea Power Station and on Wandsworth Road. It has been made possible by an extension from Kennington and is set to open in 2020.
The stretch of land along the Thames has changed beyond recognition. Much of the unused industrial land has turned into a hotspot for modern, luxury apartments. Already we’ve seen waterside developments like Albion Riverside, designed by Norman Foster, set up there, along with The Tower further down the river. But there’s more to Battersea’s residential offering than Circus West and the riverside developments.
The interest in those developments has had a ripple effect, as more and more buyers have began looking outwards to the settled communities and its traditional Victorian terraces. Little India and “Nappy Valley”, the area between Wandsworth and Clapham, have become a nestling ground for affluent families due to the large period homes and well performing schools. These areas have also proved popular with City workers with families who want to be far enough from the office to switch off but close enough to allow for an easy commute.
For those after a middle ground between the new and old, Crest Nicholson has launched Shaftesbury Gate, a development comprised of new-build homes designed to complement the traditional Victorian and Edwardian mansion blocks in the neighbourhood. Located in the highly coveted Shaftesbury Estate Conservation Area, the site offers just one and two bedroom apartments; two and three-bedroom duplexes; and four-bedroom townhouses. All are equipped with the modern appliances that you would expect from a new-build but the intimate setting is designed to be an antidote to impersonal apartment blocks.
“Increasingly in London, newly built properties are being sold to overseas buyers as an investment, however, our developments are specifically designed to appeal to the local market in the areas in which we build,” says Crest Nicholson London managing director, Trevor Selwyn. “As a result, we sell predominately to local owner occupiers, meaning developments like Shaftesbury Gate will become real communities with long-term residents as opposed to transient communities of shorter term tenants, as is often the case in larger developments.”
Experts predict the cost per square foot to reach £580, which is still considerably less than Chelsea across the river, where the cost per square foot is £1,500. As a result, Battersea has seen an influx of people who have been priced out of Chelsea and Kensington.
If you’re interested in moving there, now is the perfect time to buy. Battersea has always been a great spot for quality boutiques and excellent independent eateries but that is set to expand, as many restaurant chains and shops are planning to move there to cater for the thousands of new residents.
It’s also the right time for investors to buy. Knight Frank predicts the value of properties to increase by 140 per cent and since the news of the regeneration was announced in 2007, prices have already increased by 15.5 per cent for houses and 9.7 per cent for flats, bucking the depreciation in value experienced in some other London postcodes.