I miss London.
I miss the people, the buzz, the places, the architecture, the diversity and everything else which makes it such a great place to live.
I also love seeing the way that the city has evolved. As a teenager in the 90’s Kings Cross had a certain reputation. Go there now, and it’s hard not to be blown away by what’s been created. The incredible mixture of architecturally interesting residential developments, retail, restaurants, offices and educational institutions create a vibrant place to live, work or just visit. The developer Argent have done full justice to the phrase ‘placemaking’.
From a different perspective, it’s great to see developers taking buildings which are hundreds of years old and repurposing them for 21st century living. Developments such as The Park Crescent in Regent’s Park, The Old War Office in Westminster and both One and Twenty Grosvenor Square are great examples of how the architectural integrity of these buildings has really stood the test of time.
The latest example of this is the redevelopment of Whiteleys in Bayswater, which having been on the agenda for years, is finally ready for its moment in the sun.
Set behind a retained and restored Grade II listed facade, it will comprise 139 private residential homes and London’s first Six Senses Hotel and Spa. 30 new stores, a cinema, state of the art gym and a range of fully accessible public spaces will complete the offering.
It’s a place which most Londoners have fond memories of in its previous incarnation. It’s a beautiful building, and I was genuinely excited to hear that its restoration is in the hands of Finchatton, who are one the world’s best developers.
It also sits within one of the most undervalued neighbourhoods in London, at least from my perspective. Just look at the other areas which benefit from the same proximity to Hyde Park. Notting Hill, Holland Park, Kensington, Belgravia, Mayfair and the Hyde Park Estate. It’s not hard to see that there’s room for uplift here.
I was lucky enough to work on the sale of the apartments at the former Queens Cinema back in 2015, which sits a stone’s throw from Whiteleys.
Developer Derwent London and architects Stiff & Trevillion created an outstanding building, and you could see the area was beginning to be transformed. The prices we achieved then, groundbreaking at the time, will seem very good value in another five years.