POST magazine asks if london has sold its soul POST magazine asks if london has sold its soul
jun 15, 2014

POST magazine asks if london has sold its soul

POST magazine asks if london has sold its soul
rendering © urbicon/new world property group
all images courtesy of POST magazine

 

 

 

 

according to POST magazine, redevelopments put into play by large corporations could cause reverse gentrification and make the housing crisis in london, england even worse. in response, the australian-based publication has forwarded designboom a commentary on the subject matter:

 

londoners are complaining they’ve been sold down the river following urbicon/new world property group’s announcement this week of plans to build a 500 meter-long golden superblock stretching across the thames. the residential apartment block is part of the proposed ‘greenwich power station redevelopment,’ and the latest in a spate of new developments that have slipped under the radar in formerly sacrosanct parts of central london, and explicitly target overseas buyers.

post magazine has london sold its soul
artist’s impression of the power apartments
rendering © urbicon/new world property group

 

 

 

 

the announcement of the greenwich redevelopment comes on the eve of this year’s london festival of architecture – themed, ‘capital’– calling into question what the city’s population is really celebrating. critics warn that the greenwich proposal represents an overdevelopment of the site, but even more disconcerting is urbicon’s success in securing air rights to the river thames, paving the way for increasing privatization of the cherished public asset. the company is also responsible for the 40-storey residential berburry apartments currently under construction in westminster, which when completed, will tower over big ben, supplanting the image of london’s iconic national timepiece with a monument to one of britain’s biggest luxury exports. urbicon CEO, moneo pauli, says that the development at greenwich will provide 3400 new homes once completed. meanwhile ‘no more homes for millionaires’ campaigners insist that, like the battersea redevelopment – which sold more than half of its net sales in the first three days to foreign investors – it will further exacerbate the housing crisis for londoners.

post magazine has london sold its soul
3D rendering of berburry towers dwarfing big ben, even during construction

 

 

 

 

overseas investment in central london property is primarily to blame for the runaway house prices across the city, suburbs, and beyond. even well-paid white collar citizens are unable to break into the buyers market, which is forcing up rents across the board. intense overseas interest in exclusive addresses like bishops avenue (also known as billionaires row) in north london, and now hill street, mayfair – which made headlines recently as the home of britain’s most expensive mid-terraced house (£90M) – has resulted in a bizarre phenomenon of ‘reverse gentrification.’ about a third of all homes along these streets are rotting, many of which were purchased some 20 years ago and have remained empty ever since. the absence of owner-occupiers has hurt local businesses, with several forced into liquidation. squatting is becoming increasingly problematic: local workers complain that they no longer feel safe and that if authorities do not act quickly, hill street will soon become a complete ‘no-go’ zone. at the same time, in a perverse and self-perpetuating cycle, developers have begun purchasing and clearing derelict properties to make way for new luxury apartments, which will be flogged back to foreign investors – oblivious to the transforming context.

post magazine has london sold its soul
hill st mayfair has transformed from most expensive street in london to squatting haven 

 

 

 

 

‘the cirque apartments,’ another controversial development, has begun construction on the site of the former heritage-listed london pavilion music hall. the company has defended the decision to demolish the 1885 building, citing a contextual response: replacing the actual building with a digital image of it. but the public is concerned that the use of imagery cannot be regulated, ‘it’s bad enough that we’ve lost no. 1 piccadilly circus,’ lamented one local retailer. ‘they should make sure that they retain the picture of it.’

post magazine has london sold its soul
rendering of a new urbicon luxury development in regent street called ‘nash apartments’ 

 

 

 

 

using the concept of neighborhood character as their defense, urbicon promises a ‘unique piccadilly circus experience,’ where buyers can pay a premium to experience what it’s like to live life in the advertisements. with each apartment clad in its own digital billboard, the developers are expected to deliver the highest returns on record, ingeniously combining their property portfolio with advertising revenue in a strategy that is sure to resonate with overseas buyers wanting their own little piece of london.

post magazine has london sold its soul
cirque at piccadilly circus presents a digital façade 

 

 

 

 

whether the greenwich power station redevelopment will attract the same level of interest as its battersea counterpart remains to be seen, but one thing is for certain: the proposal has proven to be a timely catalyst in reigniting the debate about overseas investment in the UK housing market. given the theme of this year’s london festival of architecture, and while the people have the attention of politicians, leading institutions, and built environment professionals, POST magazine believes it would be a tragedy to let the opportunity escape for a robust discussion around the effects of economic policy on the social and urban fabric of the city, and ultimately its identity.


POST magazine at the london festival of architecture with the berburry towers in background

 

 

designboom has received this project from our ‘DIY submissions‘ feature, where we welcome our readers to submit their own work for publication. see more project submissions from our readers here.

  • how……….. on earth, were these projects after allowed? they are morbid and out of scale, out of character. basically they’re tumors. foreign property investment is ruining all the alpha cities. san francisco and new york are being raped by billionaire/millionaires. it’s terrible. those people investing want a piece of a london but either don’t know or don’t care that in them getting a piece they are helping to destroy it.

    tyler says:
  • UGH!!!

    Robert de Vos says:
  • some truly horrific stuff

    dbkii says:
  • You are wasting your breath. This Government, and Boris Johnson in particular, are in total thrall to ‘free market’ principles. With no one offering a decent counter-argument as to why we should build truly affordable property, the capitalist case for the highest bidder securing the spoils seems watertight. Whats needed is a major developer with combined qualities of self-sacrifice, fearlessness, and rigorous ‘socialist’ ideals to undercut the competition by constructing and retailing properties predicated on much narrower profit margins – an ‘EasyJet’ style operation. Or this madness will never end.

    douglas says:
  • … and shut out the BTL landlords by offering one property per person.

    douglas says:
  • Funny? Stop with the comments. None of this article is true. Those building are not built and there not going to be built. Just Australian’s having fun with Photoshop or complaining as there always do.

    MJK says:
  • Not disagreeing with the point the article makes, none of the projects is real and whoever wrote it is obviously not aware of British planning legislation. While there’s a lot of un- and underdeveloped land east of Greenwich Peninsula, which make the first project, if it was true, possible, none of the Central London developments described have a chance of being permitted.

    As for the obvious anti-free-market agenda behind it, the property market, being politicized and full of vested interest making policy, is anything but free. It’s the government interventions in the market that keep the bubble inflating.

    Alex says:

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