It’s hard to talk about The Residence without first explaining the massive regeneration area it sits within. Nine Elms has, for a long time, divided opinion. Many feel it’s a blueprint for everything wrong with the London property market – too many flashy expensive flats, all sold to overseas buyers without any regard for the common Londoner. To be fair, I see their arguments although personally I think it’s rather short sighted.
London is an international city. It attracts attention. People from all over the world want to spend time here. Buyers from all over the world want a little piece of our great city and I for one am rather proud of that. All these ‘flashy expensive flats’ help fund so many shared ownership, key worker group and other forms of affordable housing. Developers have donated hundreds of millions to Councils in London as well as up and down the country helping fuel the current construction boom which has seen increases in house building every year since 2009 with 2012/13 being the only exception (Knight Frank UK House Building Report 2018). Surely, we can all agree this is a good thing. Afterall there’s no debate about the fact we need more homes.
So this bring me onto Nine Elms. A collection of more than 40 projects which are changing the face of this riverside district. At 227 hectares, Nine Elms is by far the largest regeneration zone in central London and sits across the London boroughs of Wandsworth and Lambeth. Transport for London has long since started their extension of the Northern Line which will provide two new tube stations at Nine Elms and Battersea. This will forge a direct link from Nine Elms to Westminster, the City and Leicester Square, all in under 15 minutes. The extension is set to be open in 2020. The urban planners have also been careful to ensure the new area becomes a green and walkable district with plenty of public space and outdoor areas. A new park – Thames River Path – will sweep through the centre of the district and host an array of riverside shops, cafes, restaurants, art spaces and public squares creating a beautiful green corridor between Battersea Power Station and Vauxhall Cross.
The Residence sits in the beating heart of all this transformation and only a couple of minutes’ walk from what will be the new Nine Elms Tube Station. As an agent I was first attracted to the building when I heard of a project in Nine Elms offering luxury flats from circa £1100-1200psf. Significantly cheaper than any of the surrounding competition. I’d soon made up my mind – the quality must be dreadful, the facilities couldn’t be fit for purpose and the ceiling heights had to be low. After my first visit to the scheme I quickly learnt nothing could be further from the truth. The specifications are on par with anything in the area, the facilities include a large gym, business suite, cinema room, large entrance lobby and 24/7 concierge. All for a service charge of just £4 per sq/ft– again significantly lower than any other development in the local. I’ll admit, the facilities in neighbouring Embassy Gardens by Ballymore are better. They’re arguably the best delivered facilities I’m aware off and hard to compete with. If you’re sole buying motivation is facilities, then you’d opt for Embassy Gardens but you’ll have to get comfortable with paying 20% more and the same again year on year in your service charge.
The area still has some way to go. It’s not the finished article. It’s far from completed but slowly but surely the area is getting livelier. Following the completion of Battersea Power Station Phase 1 a Riverside Walk has opened with a collection of new café’s, restaurants, work out studio’s and even a pub. Several of which are located within old railway arches which gives it a more artesian feel. Whenever I’m in the area I always pop into ‘District’ for one of the most delicious coffee’s in London. The American Embassy provides a focal point and has attracted yet more new people to the area since it opened last year. It’s only going to get better as time moves forward. If I had to moan about something, in an ideal world, the railway wouldn’t run behind the development and the blocks themselves could be further apart to help create more privacy and increase natural light especially for the lower floors. Finally, I’d argue that it lacks kerb appeal – while the development certainly isn’t unattractive it’s not beautiful either. No awards for stunning exterior design here. That being said I remain a firm believer that The Residence offers buyers exceptional value and everyone who’s interested in the area should have a look before making any decisions.