I was lucky enough to be involved in this project when it was first launched onto the market in the summer of 2015. Times were a bit different then. I can remember hearing buyers had arrived 24 hours early and intended to camp out for the evening to ensure they got first refusal on the best apartments. I’d only ever seen this behaviour once before – for the launch of Greenwich Peninsula – and that weekend we exchanged 150 apartments in the space of two days.
The launch went as expected and was a huge success. Often the most disappointing aspect working on launches like these are simply you can’t please everyone. Demand simply outstrips supply and even some who queued through the night were unable to secure the apartment they wanted most.
What drove this level of demand? Sensible pricing and a location that boasts arguably the most famous London view of all. For many lucky residents they’d enjoy an unobstructed view of the London Eye across a meandering River Thames and onto the Houses of Parliament. Rightly or wrongly, on a global stage this is what many see as ‘London’. This combination was the cornerstone of an unbelievable sales rate that continued long after the 2016 EU Referendum. A testament to the quality of this project is that it remains one of the few developments launched in 2015 that has held its value to the current day.
Of course, the views and the price were not the only motivating factors. Joint venture partners Canary Wharf Group & Qatari Diar offered buyers variety. The ‘Casson Square’ buildings are interior designed by Johnson Naylor while ‘Belvedere Gardens’ are interior designed by Goddard Littlefair. Both designers are highly regarded and have a wealth of experience in this sector, but the product variation allowed buyers to have choice – and choice at a luxury level. Belvedere Gardens being the grander and more lavish building lent itself well to owner occupiers, while Casson Square would attract investors and owner occupiers and everyone else in-between. All residents will enjoy outstanding facilities which include a private swimming pool, sauna, steam room, treatment rooms and private gym.
It’s unlikely to come as a surprise that Southbank Place sits on the South Bank which is considered a dynamic area in the heart of London’s cultural scene. I don’t know of a single Londoner who doesn’t enjoy the tree-lined walk along the Thames from London Bridge to Westminster Bridge. Tree-lined and littered with restaurants, historic pubs, cafes, bars, markets, theatres and often staging sporadic fairs and events. Sightseers come to admire iconic landmarks like Big Ben, St. Paul’s Cathedral and the Tate Modern. There’s something for everyone. Although I personally see this setting as a plus, I can also see how some view this as a negative. It’s busy. Very busy. The volume of people makes for a great buzz with lots of energy albeit I can see this might quickly become tiresome. Living in this everyday would require routes to be avoided and plans to be set.
One piece of advice I’d offer to anyone seriously considering Southbank Place is to study the proximity of the buildings to each other. While the scheme spans over five acres the project is dense, and while there is no doubt that some of the views are arguably the best in London, others could potentially be looking into their neighbour’s kitchen! The project isn’t yet complete and these kinds of issues are hard to determine off-plan although, in truth, most potential ‘problem units’ sell very fast once complete as the ‘problems’ turn out to be nothing too problematic at all. That being said, there are often a few compromised units in every scheme so pick wisely.
Please disclose any commercial relationship to this development or developer:
I was involved with the launch of Southbank Place while working at Savills.
Southbank Place is an impressive site and definitely worth viewing – the scale is huge and the size of the blocks seem like a miniÂ New York. I am unsure what to make of the buildings on the front with the river views. It is definitely a unique view with the London Eye in front of your window but from my viewpoint I felt that with the buildings set back from the river behind jubilee gardens you had a narrower view of the river as you are ‘penned’ in from Southbank to the right and county hall to the left. I also wonder if a whole bunch of tourists in the London eye are going to get a view into my 11th floor penthouse.
We are considering one of the flats on the York Road as an investment purchase, more affordable without the river view but this location right by the river and social life of southbank as well as being on top of Waterloo for connections means it is one to be considering for investment.
Southbank Place is undoubtedly one of the most prominent developments in central London. Located overlooking the London eye in front of Waterloo station. There are multiple buildings to choose from in the development including Belvedere Gardens and Casson Square. Some additional phases are due for release over the next year. One Casson Square and 30 Casson Square buildings are located to the rear of the site so only the upper floors benefit from the best river facing views. All the buildings will benefit from the incredible shared amenity space which must be one of the most impressive to be delivered in London. Beware, the service charge for this level of amenity space is likely to go up in the long-term. If the quality of the marketing suite and collateral is anything to go by this scheme will be special. The developers Canary Wharf Group and Qatari Diar want to make a statement and the design team they have put together is very impressive. One downside is the Southbank Place development is very dense so non river facing units on the lower floors often look into adjoining buildings and feel quite claustrophobic. Also there is a 150 unit Rental building on site so potentially a lot of competition if you are thinking of renting out your apartment. There is a big value differential from Belvedere Gardens to Casson Square due to views. In general I think the Southbank Place scheme is well priced and has value growth potential in the long-term because of its quality and location.
If its the buzz of central London life you crave, Southbank Place will deliver on all fronts. Located on the site of the former Shell Centre, nestled between the London Eye and Waterloo Station, you couldnt be more in the heart of the action if you tried. There are 868 new properties in total on the new development, with 98 affordable homes within that number, including care homes for the elderly and disabled. Southbank Place is being developed by Braeburn Estates, a joint venture between Canary Wharf Group and Qatari Diar, known for their portfolio of architectural landmarks. The addition of Squire and Partners who have masterplanned the site, along with Stanton Williams, GRID, Patel Taylor and Townshend Landscape Architects mean its a strong team behind this venture.
The sheer volume of iconic London landmarks on the doorstep of this development means that investment interest in the development is never going to be tepid. With vantage points over the Houses of Parliament and Westminster, and a short stroll to the Royal Festival Hall and Covent Garden, the term location location location is not a throwaway expression when it comes to Southbank Place. The Overground and tube lines of Waterloo are less than 5 minutes walk away, or, City workers will enjoy a very pleasant commute of 20 minutes walking alongside the river.
Much thought went into the exterior design in particular of the buildings GRID Architects were inspired by the Festival of Britain, a post war symbol of recovery and rejuvenation, and you can see the Festival Star replicated throughout Belvedere Gardens, etched onto the faÃ§ade. Each panel on the outside of the buildings was rigorously tested in Germany for strength, water resistance and colouring, and to see how theyd fare against noise and wind. Meanwhile, the bronze colouring of the perforated faÃ§ade is a nod to the neighbouring Palace of Westminster. Inside, the interiors fuse a neutral palette and layered textures to create a sense of calm and comfort. And, of course, luxury. Natural light is a key feature, maximising views as much as possible.
At Southbank Place there are ample facilities in the form of a residents only health and fitness club with an infinity pool, gym and personal training area, along with boutique coffee shops, bars and restaurants in the newly formed Casson Square. Whats more, the 24 hour concierge will be on hand to take care of any required errands, from booking restaurants to delivering food and gifts. The amenities on site are more than adequate, but for anything else, youre certainly not short of options in the immediate vicinity. What you may feel deprived of, at least on the outside, is a bit of peace this is the tourist trail, after all. But since youre likely to be paying to be in the thick of it, lack of tranquillity wont be small price to pay. Unlike the price of the properties. From GBP760,000 for a studio flat to over GBP7million for a penthouse, the price per square foot reaches over GBP3,000. No surprise, surely. One Blackfriars and South Bank Tower would also be considerations in the prime spot of SE1, with similar views, specifications and amenities.