Greenland Group, Shanghai’s biggest property developer, is moving forward on an £800 million (US$1.066 billion) project in London that could be the tallest residential building in western Europe.
Spire London, as it’s being called, will rise 235 meters, or 771 feet, near the City’s Canary Wharf. Ninety-six of the building’s 861 apartments will be priced affordability and have access to third-floor communal amenities such as meeting rooms, games room, and a music/learning/cultural space.
However, so-called “social” tenants housed on the lower floors will enter the 67-story building through a separate door. Affluent private buyers will be ferried to their ritzier apartments, ranging in size from 50 to 150 sm (538 to 1,614 sf) and in price from £595,000 to £3 million, on the upper floors and penthouse via nine dedicated elevators. Their amenities include a 35th-floor club, infinity pool, and cinema.
(To put these prices into some context, the average price of a home in London in August, unadjusted for seasonality, was £206,145, according to the Nationwide House Price Index.)
HOK is the architect for Spire London, and Greenland Group released renderings of the building yesterday. Its design is said to be based on the nautical history of the dock site, and by the orchid, which China first cultivated more than 3,000 years ago.
The building’s angled roof creates terraces for upper-level apartments, and louvers will provide natural ventilation.
Spire London is one of 400 towers 20 stories or more that are either under construction or in the planning stages in London. Image: Greenland Group
Construction work on Spire London is scheduled to begin in January and be completed by 2020. This is one of 400 high rises over 20 stories tall that are in construction or planning stages in London, 270 of which would be in the inner boroughs. Last month, an Ipsos Mori survey of more than 500 Londoners, commissioned by the anti-skyscraper Skyline Campaign, revealed that nearly half (49%) think that’s too many skyscrapers, versus 34% in outer boroughs who feel the same way.
Nearly three-fifths of all Londoners support restrictions on the number of skyscrapers that can be built, partly because they remain unconvinced that these tall buildings are meeting the City’s housing needs. Nearly three-quarters of respondents also want their communities to have more say in the design of these high rises.
However, foreign investment in UK real estate is not likely to be discouraged at a time when the country is trying to sort out where it stands, post-Brexit, in terms of international trade and commerce.
Where Spire London would stand compared to other tall buildings in London. Chart: The Guardian