London Victoria offers room for growth

Tuesday 26th February 2013

The rapid transformation taking place in Victoria, home to some of central London’s cheapest residential properties, is changing the area into a smart district, thanks to large-scale investment.

Old rundown shops and offices are being replaced by fashionable high-street brands, designer boutiques, Grade A offices and a pleasant mixture of contemporary apartments.

“The improvements being made to Victoria, particularly Victoria Street, and the increase in new commercial space is attracting new high street brands and restaurants,” said Ed Mead of Douglas & Gordon estate agents.

The enhancements are also helping to boost investment levels, with a growing number of domestic and international property investors snapping up properties in the area.

The redevelopment of Victoria started in 2009 ago with Wellington House on Wellington Road. Developed by Land Securities, it contains 59 private residential apartments, ranging from one- to four-bedrooms, all of which were sold off-plan, including one-third in Asia, helping to set the tone for Victoria’s decade-long makeover. More new residential and commercial properties have followed.

Moving forward, Oakvest has submitted planning to restore Grosvenor Gardens House, an 18th century mansion which is part of the prestigious Grosvenor Estate near London Victoria station, to its former glory.

“We identified the Victoria area some years ago now as ripe for regeneration,” said an Oakvest spokesperson.

Developer Terrace Hill has released 23 luxury apartments and just over 143,000 sq ft of Grade A office space at One Howick Place, while a further 100 homes are being built by Land Securities at Kings Gate on Victoria Street.

Kings Gate, which recently launched in Asia, forms part of Land Securities’ £2 billion regeneration and investment in Victoria, and follows the major refurbishment of 123 Victoria Street, providing 199,000 sq ft of offices and 62 Buckingham Gate, providing 278,000 sq ft of new retail and office space.

Tom Eshelby, director of Land Securities, said: “With around three million square foot of development under construction, completed or in the planning pipeline, Land Securities is responsible for about 80% of new developments in the area, making Victoria our biggest holding in central London.”

The Land Securities director reports that that while homes in neighbouring areas like Knightsbridge and Belgravia are fetching up to £5,000 sq ft, residential properties in Victoria are selling for significantly less, at around £1,600 sq ft. But that could soon change.

“Prices in Victoria are set to rise by 40-50% by 2016,” said James Simpson, chairman of property investment firm, Derrington Group. “Overseas property investors are beginning to learn about Victoria’s growth potential; we are seeing an increase in overseas funds requesting assets in this area.”



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