By Sarah Townsend
High-net-worth buyer plans to merge 11 properties into single residence at landmark London site
Investors from the Middle East account for an estimated five percent of sales at the redevelopment of London’s iconic Battersea Power Station, including the purchase of an entire floor of 11 luxury penthouses, its CEO has revealed.
The Battersea Power Station Development Company is mid-way through a massive redevelopment of the Grade I-listed power station south of the River Thames.
The first phase, comprising 865 new homes and several retail units, is due to complete by the end of 2016, with phases two and three scheduled to finish by 2020.
Around 1,500 apartments have been sold since sales launched two years ago, CEO Rob Tincknell told Arabian Business last week.
He said around 70 percent of buyers to date have been from the UK – flipping long-standing trends depicting a majority of foreign investors in high profile luxury developments in central London.
However, he added that Middle Eastern investors account for five percent of the remaining, overseas buyers.
In particular, an unnamed ultra-high-net-worth entity from the Gulf has snapped up the entire top floor of the third-phase residential building designed by global ‘starchitects’ Norman Foster and Frank Gehry.
The top floor comprises 11 luxury penthouses, which the buyer intends to knock through to create a single enormous residence, Tincknell said.
He declined to reveal further information about the buyer’s identity.
At the Gehry/Foster-designed scheme, prices range from £495,000 ($696,000) for studios to £3.2 million ($4.5 million) for a four-bedroom apartment. Penthouses typically cost more, meaning the Gulf investor will have snapped up in the region of $30 million worth of real estate.
The 39-acre development is owned by a consortium of Malaysian investors, backed by funding partners including National Bank of Abu Dhabi.
It comprises 19 acres of public open space and other features intended to foster community cohesion, including outdoor kitchens and a long shared dining table on the roof of the Gehry/Foster building.
Tincknell said the Battersea area is becoming increasingly attractive to overseas investors – including those from the Middle East looking for stronger growth than is possible in the traditional investor heartlands of Mayfair and Knightsbridge.
He claimed seven percent returns are expected in Battersea, compared to four percent in Chelsea, which is just north of the river from the power station.
“The level of interest from the Middle East has spiked in the past six months and we expect a substantial amount of interest going forward,” Tincknell said.
“Mid-east buyers can imagine the Battersea Power Station [project] like a smaller version of Downtown Dubai – with a mix of sustainable residential, commercial and community elements.”