Despite the many challenges posed by Covid, new housing schemes, developments and initiatives continue unabated.
Here, Property Investor Today explores the latest development news, from a vibrant new scheme in Whitechapel to Legal & General’s latest foray into the later living sector.
Final phase of East London development launched
It’s been revealed that Mount Anvil, in a joint venture partnership with housing association and residential developer L&Q, is launching its final phase at The Silk District – The Bouchon – in East London’s Whitechapel.
Described as the ‘pièce de résistance of the site’, The Bouchon is the tallest building in the development, rising to 25 floors with ‘epic views’ across Canary Wharf and The City. Crossrail, once ready, will be on the doorstep, and prices start from £445,000.
Located where all paths meet at the centre of the development, The Bouchon is home to 198 studio, one and two-bedroom homes. Set within a £300 million regeneration area, the development is ‘primed for growth’ and ‘enjoying increasing popularity’.
The new Queen Mary Bart’s Life Science medical research campus, a new Crossrail station, retail and open space are all within a three-minute walk. As a result, sole sales agents for the development – JLL - predict growth levels of 25% by 2024.
“The Bouchon offers would-be buyers the last chance to buy within our development, The Silk District, which is scheduled for completion in spring 2024,” Jon Hall, sales director at Mount Anvil, said.
“Standing tall, The Bouchon is an outstanding building with spectacular views and is only a short commute from The City, Canary Wharf and Old Street. Since we launched the development it has proved popular with young professionals and students working and studying locally.”
Synonymous with the silk trade, Whitechapel has an industrial heritage that dates back centuries to the craftsmanship and creativity of the French Huguenots – the silk-weaving artisans who settled in the area during the 17th century having fled persecution in their home country.
This legacy has been ‘suffused’ into the new phase’s name and identity, which today aims to assimilate the cutting-edge fashion and style for which East London is renowned, ‘creating a stylish collection of homes built to foster a new community’.
A palette of champagne and light stone panels, with lighter materials like glass and aluminium, has been used to help The Bouchon’s exterior stand out. The colour scheme of the distinctive tower continues inside, where ‘neutral tones are luxuriated with brushed gold brassware, silk-effect carpet and Terrazzo-effect tiles in the bathroom and living areas’.
Claire Brenlund, London sales director at L&Q, said: “Whitechapel is a vibrant community in the heart of the East End. Together with Mount Anvil, we have enjoyed bringing forward The Silk District with more residential homes, commercial units and public realm – including our shared ownership offering which is launching next year. It is an area that is going places, and we are excited to be part of its history.”
‘First-class’ amenities will be on offer to residents at The Bouchon, including a fully-equipped gym with spin studio and rooftop terrace. Furthermore, residents benefit from a WiFi-enabled flexible working place (now likely to be increasingly important for those working from home) and a 24-hour concierge.
A screening room, featuring full length sofas and a bar area, can also be booked out by residents to enjoy a private film viewing or sporting event with like-minded friends.
Situated between the capital’s two largest financial districts, the City and Canary Wharf, Whitechapel is increasingly attracting finance professionals – as well as the workers of East London’s thriving tech and startup scene – but whether this will be impacted by the pandemic and the reduction in office-based working is so far unclear.
“There is currently huge appetite to invest in Whitechapel,” Peter Gibney, director at JLL, commented. “This area was first identified by JLL’s Crossrail tool as offering the highest price growth potential compared with other Crossrail stations. Together with the emerging creative commercial hub and unparalleled convenience of location for both work and leisure, Whitechapel looks set for demand for residential investment opportunities to continue to outstrip supply.
He added: “Neighbouring high-performing areas like Old Street and Spitalfields have seen staggering returns over the last five years, which demonstrates the best is yet to come. The Bouchon offers a great opportunity for savvy buyers and investors, and it’s the last chance to buy in this up-and-coming development.”
Its interchange with the District, Hammersmith & City and Overground lines means it is already a well-connected area, but residents should soon benefit from the opening of a new Crossrail station, just five minutes’ walk from The Silk District. The Elizabeth line (Crossrail’s official name) is set to enhance Whitechapel’s accessibility and connectivity further, halving journey times to business and leisure destinations across London.
Canary Wharf will be accessible in only three minutes, Bond Street in 10 minutes, and London Heathrow in 36 minutes. However, the Elizabeth Line has been dogged by issues in recent years and is now set to be delayed until 2022 at the earliest, four years after its initial planned opening date of December 2018. The scheme might also need a further £450 million for completion, its heavily criticised board recently revealed.
L&G donates £5m to pioneer new post-Covid approach to elderly housing
Legal & General and Newcastle City Council recently announced a new £5 million charitable partnership to enhance elderly care in the city, placing Newcastle at the forefront of development of ground-breaking changes to the way we care for older people.
The financial services company’s £5 million gift to the city will be used in two distinct projects. Initially and with immediate effect, it will help fund additional independent living facilities for older residents within the Future Homes Alliance project at Newcastle Helix. These are managed by the City Council’s housing partner, Karbon Homes.
The facilities will include 66 affordable units, along with five demonstrator homes to test the latest innovations and products to help support ageing and environmental sustainability in a real-world setting.
All new homes will be integrated within the Future Homes development, the first wave of residential development at Helix, which was approved by Newcastle City Council’s Planning Committee at the end of August.
Elsewhere, the second, larger component of the donation will provide core funding for a 20/25-bed ‘new model’ residential care home. This ‘ground-breaking project’, for which Newcastle City Council will identify a site, will be a prototype which moves away from the traditional large-scale care home to a more domestic, clustered, communal setting.
Its design and operation will incorporate key lessons learned from the Covid-19 pandemic, including on infection control and operation of lockdowns and ‘support bubbles’. It’s hoped this would minimise negative effects on residents, particularly those living with dementia. The care home’s construction will be led by the City Council who will also own and operate the facility.
Best use of new technology, including telehealth, telemedicine and remote monitoring using the ‘internet of things’, will be prioritised in the building of both the independent living facilities and the care home.
As well as providing state-of-the-art facilities for residents, both types of accommodation are set to provide valuable data to help increase knowledge of how best to operate care facilities in a post-Covid environment. Maximum collaboration will also be facilitated between facilities and the UK National Innovation Centre for Ageing, Urban Observatory as well as other researchers and providers of care.
“With an ageing population, elderly care was already a major issue for L&G and many of our customers, and Covid was a further tragic blow for many in the care sector – including in the North East,” Nigel Wilson, chief executive of Legal & General, said.
“We have to find better ways to care for older people, and these prototypes will accelerate the process, demonstrate what can be done and what is viable, and complement the academic work we already sponsor. Doing this here, alongside brilliant partners, cements Newcastle’s position as a national leader in care.”
Nick Forbes, leader of Labour-controlled Newcastle City Council, said: “I am thrilled to announce this partnership with L&G, which builds on our previous city-wide agreement and provides a welcome investment in critical adult social care services.”
He added: “The population in Newcastle is growing older and many of our residents live with complex needs that require different levels of support. I am passionate about ensuring we have the right level of care, available at the right time and in the right place that helps all our residents live long, happy and healthy lives.”
“Newcastle is a very forward-thinking, modern city that is digital by design. Our modern approach to living, working and doing business in our city should be reflected in all aspects of Newcastle life and benefit all our residents and communities.”
Charlotte Carpenter, executive director of growth and business development at Karbon Homes, said: “We are excited about the huge potential of the new homes we are building with the Future Homes Alliance.”
“I want to thank L&G for their very generous contribution to this important project. Working closely with our partners, we aim to set new standards in quality and innovation, to provide the best possible living environment.”
She added: “We will be experimenting with new technologies and products to enhance the lives of older residents in particular, and really push the boundaries on what can be achieved around environmental sustainability.”