Plan for £90m East London tilting bridge

Plans to build a new pedestrian and cycle bridge across the River Thames between Canary Wharf and Rotherhithe have taken a big step forward following the completion of a detailed feasibility study.

Designers reForm Architects has developed a unique structure that would boast the world’s largest span for an opening bascule bridge.

The plans have been developed with Elliott Wood engineers and cost management advice from Arup.

The 185m central span is supported by cables from angled masts at each side. These wishbone-like structures pivot to enable the bridge to lift at its centre to allow tall and large ships to pass.

The masts also act as counterbalance weights, so that the bridge can open very efficiently requiring £10 of electricity to open.

Working with Sustrans, the design has been used to test the viability of a crossing at this location in consultation with Transport for London (TfL), London Underground, the Port of London Authority and the Canal & River Trust.

The proposed bridge has the potential to bring significant economic benefits to the communities on either side of the river and beyond, and will be a welcoming gateway for all those arriving into London by river.

It would be the first opening bridge to be built on the River Thames since Tower Bridge in 1894.

The East London design was revealed as another footbridge plan in West London moved ahead after the successful design team was named for the £40m project.

A team led by Dutch firm Bystrup with Robin Snell Architects has won the design competition for a new bridge in Nine Elms. Its design features a slender structure and spiralling ramps at both ends.

Read More

Chancellor’s Autumn Statement

The Autumn Statement was released today by George Osborne. It is too early to understand the potential full impact of the changes but for investors it in likely that the changes in stamp duty will lead to a desire to purchase prior to April 2016 and there is a fear that demand and therefore prices will be affected thereafter. Many agents have commented that the previous changes in stamp duty have had a dramatic effect of the upper end of the property market

Help To Buy

  • New ISA product will come into effect next month
  • A new interest-free loan to supplement deposits for first-time London buyers who raise the first 5%.

Landlords and second-homes

From April 2016, an additional 3% will be added on to the Stamp Duty bill for buy-to-let or second-home purchases

New homes

An extra 400,000 homes will be built by 2020

Infrastructure boost

London will get an additional £11 billion budget to be spent on infrastructure including rail, Tube, roads and cycle routes, an enhanced superfast broadband network and extra support for museums and the arts.

Capital Gains Tax

CGT bills must be settled within 30 days rather than 21 months with effect from 2019

Read More

Lords phase 2 revamp gets final approval

London’s mayor has given final approval to the second stage of the £200m redevelopment of Lord’s Cricket Ground.

Plans to redevelop the south-west side of the world-famous ground will see an increase in 1,082 seats, taking capacity up to 30,530.

The project will see the Tavern and Allen stand demolished to make way for a new three-tier stand of 5,200 seats.

As part of the phase two plan, the Thomas Lord Building will be redeveloped and extensive internal improvements carried out to the Pavilion, allowing more room for cricket teams and staff.

The Tavern pub will also be rebuilt inside the ground to create a more welcoming refreshment centre.

The improvements are designed to deliver an improved spectator view of the cricket and accessibility, keeping Lord’s at the forefront of hosting major international matches and tournaments.

Westminster council gave outline planning permission for the ground improvements last month and now the Mayor has given the seal of approval for what is the second phase of development at the home of cricket.

But the earliest that work will begin on the project will be autumn 2019, due to the need for Lord’s to be free of building works that summer for the ICC Cricket World Cup.

Derek Brewer, MCC Chief Executive, said: “A five-year consent was submitted because the Club awaits the England and Wales Cricket Board’s decision – expected in 2017 – on the programme of international matches for 2019-2022.

“Today’s announcement means the Club can conclude the legal procedures associated with the planning consent and look forward to making progress on these ambitious plans from Autumn 2019 onwards.”

BAM began demolition work on phase one, the redevelopment of the Warner Stand, in September this year.

Lords Warner stand

BAM is due to complete the new stand (above) in time for the 2017 season. However the stand will be in use during the 2016 season, to allow Lord’s to operate at full seating capacity during major matches.

Read More

Funding deal for £284m Metropolitan line extension

London Underground today confirmed that plans are in place to start construction work on the extension of the Metropolitan line to Watford late next year.

The project, previously known as the Croxley Rail Link, will support growth and regeneration in and around Watford by making journeys to and from London easier.

A full funding package for the extension has now been agreed between the Department for Transport, Hertfordshire County Council and Transport for London.

This sees TfL take control for delivering the previously stalled project from the county council. Taylor Woodrow, which had an existing design and build deal with the council, will continue to deliver detailed design and enabling works.

But London Underground is now expected to go out to tender for a main contractor early next year on the bulk of project.

Metropolitan line extension

A key part of the project will be a new 3km stretch of line that includes building 400m new viaduct to take take the line over the Watford Road dual carriageway and the Grand Union Canal.

It will then link to an 1.5km stretch of existing but disused branch line route which will see two new stations built at Cassiobridge and Watford Vicarage Road before linking into Watford junction.

Nick Brown, Managing Director of LU, said: “For 100 years, the Tube has been enabling growth in ‘Metro-land’ and this new part of the Underground network will support further rapid development in the area.

“By 2020 we will have built a 400m viaduct, two completely new stations and numerous new and reconstructed bridges along the route, transforming transport links in Watford.

“With the funding package complete we’re now turning all our attention to appointing contractors, finalising designs and beginning construction in 2016.”

Manny Lewis, Managing Director for Watford Borough Council, said: “The Metropolitan Line Extension to Watford is a key transformational project for the town.

“As well as providing significantly improved transport choices for local people, the project is absolutely critical to unlocking Watford’s future economic and regeneration potential.

“The extended Metropolitan Line will bring over £1.4bn of investment into the town, helping create thousands of jobs by supporting the delivery of major projects like the Watford Health Campus, Watford Business Park, Ascot Road and the redevelopment of Charter Place Shopping Centre.”

Read More

Sisk go-ahead for £70m London Bower tower revamp

Developer Helical Bar has given contractor John Sisk the go-ahead to start work before Xmas on the extensive remodelling of a major office block at Old Street in London.

The firm will strip the existing offices back to the frame and then extend the building out and upwards before recladding at a cost of £70m.

The Tower at 207 Old Street, which was previously home to Amec,  is the second phase of The Bower development next to Silicon Roudabout where properties prices are soaring in the face of demand from tech companies for space..

This phase will provide 170,000 sq ft of office space and 7,300 sq ft of retail/restaurant space, on completion of the works.

The BowerExisting block and remodelled building

207 Old Street was constructed in the 1960s and overclad in the 1980s. The existing block will now be stripped back to the concrete frame and raised by two floors.

Its 60s slab architecture will be broken up with a full height steelwork extension to the front of the building. On the ground floor, a generously-sized portion of the building will be cut out to create a pedestrian link from Old Street through to Baldwin Street.

Screen Shot 2015-11-19 at 22.36.59


Read More

Green light for London’s 22 Bishopsgate tower

London’s city planners have backed plans for a 62-storey tower to rise from the stump of the abandoned Pinnacle scheme at 22 Bishopsgate.

The 1.3m sq ft skyscraper, which is to be built by Brookfield Multiplex, will fill an obvious gap at the centre of the City’s cluster of tall buildings.

Other firms being teed-up for key packages on the £500m construction job include steelwork contractor William Hare, and Carey’s for key concrete packages.

Under the submitted programme concrete core work will resume in March next year after the existing core stump has been removed.

Work stopped in 2012 on the previous Pinnacle building scheme with only the foundations, basements and the lift core up to level nine having been completed.

Of the existing structure, the foundations and basements will be retained, helping minimise the disruption from the new proposal, although new piles will be drilled to support the new building layout.

Construction will involve an off-site consolidated delivery centre to minimise vehicle movements to the site – reducing pollution, improving security and diminishing the number of cyclist accidents with HGVs.

Supplies to and waste from the building will be delivered to a consolidation centre outside central London and energy efficient vehicles will then make far fewer deliveries to the site outside peak pedestrian movement and rush hour times.

22 Bishopsgate

View of City’s future skyline topped out with 22 Bishopsgate skyscraper and several new towers now under construction.

Developers AXA Real Estate and Lipton Rogers are behind the plans drawn up by architect PLP for the 278m building – 10m lower than the previously approved consent.

22 Bishopsgate construction team

Access: Peter Connell Associates
Architect: PLP Architecture
CDM: PLP Architecture
Construction advice: Brookfield Multiplex
Concrete: Careys
Cost Management, Areas, BBD: Alinea
District Surveyor: City of London
Employer’s Representative/ Employer’s Agent: Aecom
Façade Access and Maintenance: WSP Parsons Brinckerhoff
Façade Engineers: Emmer Pfenninger Partners AG
Façade Advice: Josef Gartner
Fire: WSP Parsons Brinckerhoff
Logistics: Wilson James
MEP: WSP Parsons Brinckerhoff
Steelwork: William Hare
Structure: WSP Parsons Brinckerhoff
Sustainability: WSP Parsons Brinckerhoff
Transport: WSP Parsons Brinckerhoff
Vertical Transportation: VT Studio
Well (Delos): Arup

At the top of the building will be a double-height public viewing gallery, which will have dedicated lifts, be free to the public and sit alongside a two-storey public restaurant and bar.

22 Bishopsgate

It will be the first building in London to adopt the new Delos WELL Building Standard.  The Delos standard is the world’s first building standard focused exclusively on human health and wellness and assesses people using the building to measure, certify and monitor features that impact health and wellbeing.

The plans include a conference centre, cafés, food outlets, medical centre, library, wellness suite, and specialised sports facilities.

22 Bishopsgate is designed to achieve a BREEAM Excellent rating and a 25% carbon saving compared to the previous scheme, partly due to the triple glazed ultra-efficient façade.

Read More

Derwent to start two major London jobs worth £340m

Developer Derwent is preparing to start its most ambitious London scheme to date – the redevelopment of the former Saatchi building at Charlotte Street.

Brookfield Multiplex will deliver the 380,000 sq ft mixed-use development in Fitzrovia, which is one of two major projects due to be started by June 2016.

The project start, which has been delayed for several months, will see the contractor deliver a part refurbishment and part new build (pic below).

A substantial proportion of the existing structures are being retained to reduce waste and carbon emissions and the construction programme.

80 Charlotte Street saatchi

The second major job in Paddington, known as the Brunel building will be delivered by Laing O’Rourke.

Its structure echoes as a smaller version the landmark Cheesegrater offices at 122 Leadenhall St, which was Laing O’Rourke’s first major high-rise project in London.

The 240,000 sq ft office is planned on one of the last sites in Paddington Basin on the banks of the Grand Union Canal and opposite Brunel’s Paddington Station,which lend the scheme its engineer’s name.

It will rise to 17 floors and is designed with an external supporting steel diagrid support frame to afford column-free floorplates.
Derwent Brunel House

Derwent Brunel House

Derwent Brunel House

Designed by Fletcher Priest Architects and engineered by Arup, construction at the 55-65 North Wharf Road site is due to start in early 2016 and complete in the first half of 2019.

In a third quarter trading statement this morning John Burns, Derwent chief executive officer, said: “The current year is our best ever for lettings.  We have also successfully recycled some more mature assets into several major opportunities and the Group’s development activity demonstrates confidence that the high level of occupier demand for our product is set to continue.”

Read More

Great Portland Estates plans record £500m spend

London developer Great Portland Estates is planning to deliver its largest ever pipeline of work with spending on schemes set to top £500m.

In half year trading results, the developer said it had now started nine projects amounting to 853,200 sq ft, or a quarter of its total property assets.

GPE also plans to start two West End schemes in the next 24 months at Oxford House, W1 for Facebook and a 224,000 sq ft Crossrail over-station scheme at Hanover Square, W1.

Beyond that, its pipeline includes a further dozen projects, taking the total development programme to 2.5m sq ft. This could take planned investment on building to £513m.

In the last six months GPE has committed to delivering 148 Old Street, EC1,  a major refurbishment of a 97,800 sq ft former Post Office building to create around 156,900 sq ft of offices. Strip out of the building has commenced  for completion in September 2017.

148 old street

148 Old Street will be stripped back to its structural frame and fitted with new facades of glazed white and engineering brick.

In September, GPE received planning permission at Tasman House, 59/63 Wells Street, W1, to replace a tired 1950′s building with 37,300 sq ft of new office and retail space. The strip out of the building is complete and demolition has commenced with the scheme due for completion in October 2017.

The developer’s committed programme also includes: 90/92 Great Portland Street, W1, which contains the offsite residential offset for Hanover Square, W1;  84/86 Great Portland Street, W1; a 23,100 sq ft mixed-use scheme which contains the offsite residential offset for Tasman House, W1; and 48/50 Broadwick Street, W1, the residential offset for 73/89 Oxford Street, W1.

Read More

British Land appoints Argent boss for vast London scheme- Canada Waters

British Land has appointed former Argent chief executive Roger Madelin to lead the development of its 46-acre Canada Water site in London.

Madelin, who led Argent’s King’s Cross development team, will join the developer in February and also sit on British Land’s executive committee.

British Land has been steadily assembling parcels of land at Canada Water in south east London and now has potential for around 5.5m sq ft of office, retail, residential, leisure, educational and community space.

The major, long term project will be delivered in several phases to deliver a mixed-use town centre development.

Canada Water

Screen Shot 2015-11-06 at 08.03.30

British Land is currently working with the London Borough of Southwark and local communities to deliver the Canada Water Masterplan and expects to submit a planning application by the end of next year.

Chris Grigg, chief executive, said: “Roger Madelin is a highly experienced developer and brings enormous experience of delivering major mixed-use developments.

“Placemaking lies at the heart of what we do and I look forward to working with Roger to create a vibrant new destination for London that caters for a wide range of modern needs.”

Madelin, said: “The combination of the physical opportunity at Canada Water, working with British Land and with the thoughtful and ambitious London Borough of Southwark was an opportunity too exciting to turn down.

“I have had an amazing 29 years at Argent. The completion of the last phases of King’s Cross are in talented and safe hands.”

Read More

Falling activity- Chestertons’ research

–– HMRC data show home sales fell by 7.4% in August compared to the previous month and were 1.9% down on August 2014.

–– The supply of houses for sale has slumped to its lowest level for 11 years. Research from the National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA) reveals the volume of properties available to buy per estate agent branch fell to 38 in August, down 31% on the July figure of 55. This is the lowest level of supply recorded since January 2004.

–– House-building activity in the UK this year is set to top levels seen in 2014, according to new figures released today by NHBC. The new home registrations statistics reveal an increase of 11% for the rolling quarter June- August, compared to the same period last year.
–– Research from Which? magazine reveals that older buyers are more likely to take their time viewing a property – and that those who spent more time viewing are also more likely to pay under the asking price.
–– Foreign investors are increasingly targeting UK residential property. Hong Kong group Great Wall Real Estate Investments recently secured its first deals in a £1bn push into UK residential development. Great Wall will typically target small and medium-sized schemes where it is less likely to have to compete with major UK institutions.
–– A survey by the National Landlords Association (NLA) has revealed landlord attitudes towards pensions. Up to 19% have no retirement provision in place, 25% plan to sell properties to fund their retirement, and 61% expect to live off portfolio income at retirement. Another 34% say they are undecided and will assess the market when they reach retirement age.

–– A new report by the Sutton Trust highlights the continued rise in the number of graduates being forced to live with parents or in shared accommodation. The number of single people aged 25 to 34 living in shared accommodation has risen by 28% over the last decade. In 2014, there were only two London boroughs – Bexley and Barking & Dagenham – where the average house price was less than eight times an average person’s income.

The twin evils of affordability and a shortage of homes for sale continue to plague the national market, despite an increase in house building and record low interest rates. Within the prime sector there is anecdotal evidence of strong pent-up buyer demand, which will encourage vendors and eventually translate into sales.
Nick Barnes, Chestertons’ Head of Research

Read More