An iconic cluster of glass behemoths, Canary Wharf is a beacon of London’s financial prowess. Where the sharp suits and sharper brains work, it’s visible — and distinctly recognisable — from most spots along the Thames. However, it has never been known for nurturing its residential community.
In essence, it’s a Monday to Friday place. It passes the pint of milk test — in that milk is readily available from one of five shopping malls. And if you want a meal or a gift, there are more than 200 shops, bars, cafés and restaurants on hand seven days a week. Access to retail and leisure is not the problem here.
It’s just that Londoners who aren’t familiar with the area always refer to the lack of atmosphere — and it does tend to vanish on a Friday night.
So, can a new Crossrail station, twinned with a steady increase in fresh residential developments, inject heart and soul into this hard-nosed financial quarter?
New homes in Canary Wharf
Derelict docklands until the late Eighties, this Tower Hamlets location is first and foremost a business district, packed with 16 million square feet of offices and shops to serve the 100,000 people who work in the area.
Residential development has been something of an afterthought and largely dedicated to meeting the mid-week needs of local workers.
But this is changing. According to Rightmove, average prices for the area hover around £530,000 for a flat — near enough the London average.
Terrace properties cost an average £678,142 with semi-detached homes going for somewhere in the region of £858,400.
Prices in the area are similar to nearby Isle of Dogs at £531,078 and cheaper than Millwall, at £575,119. But the Crossrail route — the Elizabeth or “Lizzie” line — is the game changer.
THE LIZZIE LINE IS ON ITS WAY
The local property market will benefit from the opening of the Canary Wharf Crossrail stop next year, which will take journey times into Liverpool Street down from 22 minutes to just six, while the 33-minute run to Paddington will be slashed to 17, and trains to Heathrow airport will take just 39 minutes instead of the current 55.
Add this to existing transport links including the Jubilee line and the DLR and you are looking at one of the best-connected areas in the capital — but it needs homeowners to give it a real sense of community.
The issue of injecting life at weekends is being addressed. A calendar of events with a weekend focus is helping to provide some interest for local residents and is also drawing in a crowd from beyond the area.
Community groups are curating more on-site artwork and exhibitions, and with the Museum of London Docklands, community activities at Crossrail Place Roof Garden above the new Canary Wharf Crossrail station, an ice skating rink in winter and open-air events and food markets in summer, that all-important weekend buzz is certainly heading in the right direction.
WHAT’S FOR SALE?
As for new-build homes, at one end of the spectrum you have One Park Drive, a 58-storey tower by Tate Modern Switch House architects Herzog & de Meuron. Prices start from £575,000 for a studio, £750,000 for a one-bedroom flat, just over £1 million for a two-bedroom flat and £1.6 million for a three-bedroom flat.
Prices at the South Quay Plaza scheme by Berkeley Homes start at £770,000. At Manhattan Plaza and Horizons, both by Telford Homes, prices start at £699,750 for a two-bedroom flat and £1.4 million for a penthouse respectively.
Mount Anvil’s last remaining apartment at Dollar Bay is a penthouse, at £3.5 million.
Prices at Lansbury Square, a Bellway Homes scheme, start from £387,995 for a one-bedroom apartment and £494,995 for a two-bedroom flat. Bellway’s two-bedroom flats at its Dockside scheme start at £769,995.
I LOVE IT HERE. I FEEL VERY SAFE AND THE TRANSPORT’S PERFECT
Priya Narayan reserved her flat at Dockside, by Bellway Homes, at one of the developer’s Help to Buy events and also won an interior design and furniture package worth £20,000.
The 29-year-old risk manager had been renting a room in a two-bedroom flat in Turnberry Quay near Canary Wharf, and had been looking for a new home for three years.
“When I first started looking I was disappointed with the types of second-hand homes that were affordable to me and the locations they were in. But finding Dockside and using Help to Buy was a great opportunity,” she says. “I had missed out on two previous properties so as soon as the homes at Dockside were available, I had to have one.”
She reserved her seventh-floor apartment, worth £420,000, and moved in this summer: “I love Dockside. It is close to Canary Wharf and the water. I feel very safe in the area and I am really close to the DLR, which is perfect for me.
“The Crossrail station at Canary Wharf will bring lots of benefits.
“Property prices close to a Crossrail station are set to rise and by the time it arrives I am hoping to have paid off my government loan portion.
“Crossrail will bring more shops and restaurants and community to the area, which is great for weekends.
“I am looking forward to a faster link to Heathrow — I am sure this will take strain off the roads, too. Getting from east to west London is quite insane with the traffic, so Crossrail will only improve connectivity to the area and where I live.”
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