Designed by the US firm Kohn Pedersen Fox, it will be the first residential tower in the capital with its own five-star hotel, where occupants can enjoy room service in the comfort of their own homes, along with a cinema, gym and a luxury KTV karaoke room – a feature that makes a direct appeal to the Chinese market, where at least 30% of buyers are based.
“It’s all about the fun factor,” said a sales rep, handing over a cloth-bound brochure detailing Wanda’s other assets, from Sunseeker superyachts to the vast AMC cinema chain. “Our Chinese clients expect a whole different level of service, so we’re bringing everything they need together on one site.” The agents for the development are so confident about the capital’s booming property market that they are suggesting buyers will make a 23% profit if they sell when the keys to the new apartments are handed over in five years’ time.
Developers at London’s property fair are plotting how to demolish our homes
As suited property agents mingled in the booths, protesters gathered on the streets outside to voice their concerns about the deals being done behind closed doors. “It’s sickening,” said Jake Freeland of the Radical Housing Network, who was protesting with about 40 other campaigners, the crowd almost outnumbered by police, who had sealed off the pavement by main entrance in anticipation after disturbances last year.
“The superheated levels of international investment are responsible for the breakup of London’s existing communities, and they’re not giving nearly enough back,” Freeland said. Of the 494 flats in One Nine Elms – which start at £1.3m – only 57 will be classed as “affordable” (shared ownership), falling far short of Wandsworth council’s target of 40%.
The Shanghai-based developer Greenland was also here to showcase its £1.2bn investment in London property, including plans for “classic south-west London luxury apartments” on the eight-acre Ram Brewery site in Wandsworth, and what could be the tallest apartment building in western Europe at Canary Wharf. Designed by HOK, Hertsmere House will rise to 67 storeys, if it receives planning permission, putting it at the same height as One Canada Square, the tallest building in Canary Wharf.
Its 869 apartments will be some of the most expensive in London, but critics have raised concerns over the building’s deep, dark floor-plates and the fact that the plans don’t meet London’s Housing Design Guide standards. Only 80 flats will be for social rent, while 80 will be intermediate, again falling short of the borough’s requirements.