We talk to Matt Townend, Head of Residential Development at Battersea Power Development Station Company, about developing a design icon.
As London’s largest development since Canary Wharf, it takes a bit of time to get your head around the sheer scope of Battersea Power Station. Athena Advisers talked to Matt Townend, Head of Developments, to get the inside track on the project.
1. What makes the development so revolutionary?
The project marks one of the most significant real estate developments in the world. It’s also one of the most eagerly anticipated new urban developments in London and the largest since Canary Wharf.
The size of the regeneration is quite staggering. Once completed, it will deliver over 3 million sq ft of space for shops, restaurants, cafés and offices, as well as approximately 4,000 new homes.
An estimated 17,000 permanent jobs will be created spanning a 42-acre riverfront site. In addition, the Zone 1 Northern Line Extension, due to open in 2020, and new riverboat services will provide fantastic travel connections into and out of Battersea, and the surrounding areas, connecting to the City in just 12 minutes.
But more than just its size, it’s truly unique for a number of other reasons. Firstly, it’s a true mixed-used development with a strong commitment to building a great community, while ensuring the grade 2 listed Power Station sits at the heart of the project and retains its architectural authenticity.
2. What are the expectations for capital appreciation?
It’s worth noting that historically, there has been a north/south river divide in London, but up and down the Thames that gap has closed, apart from between Battersea and Chelsea. This has been for a number of reasons; lack of public transport, shopping and good restaurants have all counted against Battersea. However, that is changing and once the new Zone 1 tube station and Power Station itself opens, Battersea will become an accessible and exciting place to work, live and visit. Currently, Battersea Power Station (BPS) represents only 35% of the values of new builds north of the river, but people who have bought at BPS have already seen average growth of 30% in value, and the future looks even brighter.
3. Who is the target market? Are some sections more suited to a specific demographic than others?
The development is targeted for everyone to use and enjoy. This is the true nature of mixed used sites and why we’ve developed the ‘live, work, play, shop, eat, stay’ concept. Everybody will be able to experience the fantastic facilities on offer, from cultural activities to employment options, first class shopping options, a plethora of places to eat and drink, green open spaces, and of course living spaces from affordable to luxury. It’s not about how much you earn or where you come from, it’s about an approach to life and wanting to be associated with a truly authentic and exciting part of London.
4. What most inspires you about the project?
First of all, its Battersea Power Station itself, designed by Wilkinson Eyre Architects. Spanning 3 floors, approximately 63% of the space inside the station represents retail, while leisure facilities include a boutique hotel and an 2000 capacity entertainment zone, an arts & cultural space, and 254 residential properties. In addition, we will be opening 470,000 sq ft of workspace, designed to have a creative ‘look and feel’ enveloped within some of the largest floorplates in London, ensuring the original rich industrial heritage of the Power Station is retained.
A key part of our regeneration project is Phase 3. This will entail 1,363 Gehry and Foster designed homes on either side of a new pedestrianised high street for London, called ‘The Electric Boulevard’, 350,000 sq ft of space dedicated to retail and food & beverage outlets.
On a personal level, to work with such incredibly talented architects – Gehry Partners and Foster + Partners’ – has been an absolute joy. While the pedigree of both is clear for all to see, their passion and drive to create beautiful, functional and exciting buildings has been exceptionally inspiring. The whole team here is incredibly proud of the buildings and visionary masterpieces that have been created.
Alongside the actual apartments, the residents’ facilities are truly amazing, extending to two residents’ lounges – one at 7,500 sq ft and the other measuring 7,000 sq ft, a 5,400 sq ft gym and a pool, all complemented by the longest residential rooftop gardens in London. At present, the main residential availability and activity is via Phase 3. Entry prices here are £1.35m for a 2 bed and 2 bath Gehry designed home. A 2 bed and 2 bath Foster designed home starts at £1.68m.
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