Chief Executive Officer
When coming over to London this summer, I was able to visit the area of North London around Old Street and the City Road Basin for the first time in about six months, and I have to say I was blown away by how the place has transformed.
It’s one of my favourite parts of the city, and it remains so for property developers as well. The proximity to the financial centre of the City and the technology hub dubbed Silicon Roundabout are key factors that have made the place so highly sought after, but there's more besides that.
Lexicon, July 2014
Like nearby Islington and Shoreditch before it, this is a part of London seeing massive levels of regeneration work at the moment, so there’s been lots of infrastructure improvement and a general uplift of the local environment. It’s quite the London gentrification story.
I had lunch in the while I was there, a lovely little pub along the canal – a really nice little place that epitomises the area and the changes it’s enjoyed perfectly.
Having seen similar work in other parts of London and other world cities over the course of my career in property investment, I’m feeling very bullish about where prices in this part of the city are heading over the next few years.
That’s why we’ve been so keen on investments in the area over the past couple of years – take a look at our . The Lexicon Tower is looking very impressive, a real local monument on the City Road Basin – we’re really pleased .
Prices keep on rising, and I can definitely see them topping GBP2,000 per square foot in the next five years – we’re already seeing high-floor units in new-builds close to our own developments fetching as much as GBP1,800 per square foot right now.
All in all, it’s an area seeing great uplift that’s making it a really lovely place to live and work, and that’s flowing through to some good levels of price growth.
ST MARK'S SQUARE
The train down to Bromley South was enjoyably quick; 16 minutes after I hopped on at London Victoria I was alighting at Bromley South, with no stops in between.
Bromley South’s high street was much livelier than I had anticipated and the local shops and chains were bustling.
St Mark's Square, July 2014
St Mark’s Square, set across from the station, behind Westmoreland Place, is under construction and the site is a hive of activity right now. By early 2016 the site will have transformed into a mixed use development, with a nine-screen VUE Cinema, nine restaurants, 200 residential units and a 130-room Premier Inn Hotel.
It's easy to see how this project will become the focal point of the south end of Bromley High Street and bring much needed modern leisure facilities to the Bromley South community.
The public plaza will be surrounded by new restaurants, and will be home to an ice rink in the winter and city beach in the summer. In addition, there will be a regular farmers market. It is worth noting that there is a very large Waitrose store only three minutes from the site.
After the site visit I took a walk north up the High Street and into the Intu shopping centre (also known as The Glades). This was a relative oasis of calm compared to the High Street: a bright, attractive mall with over 125 retail outlets, including many established chains and brands.
This really is an exceptional investment opportunity – there is nothing quite like it in Bromley South and nothing of this scale to follow. This will modernise the Bromley South area and I'm thrilled that we've been able to bring this kind of opportunity to our investors.