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.