Metro - 24 January 2013
Battersea Power Station
By Jo Eccles
After years of sitting derelict, it is fantastic to see that London icon, Battersea Power Station, is finally about to be restored. More than £600m worth of property has reportedly been sold at the development already, and it’s expected that all 800 flats and townhouses will be sold by the end of January.
“However, although it was reported that Londoners were given the first chance to buy one of the initial 800 properties launched, with most developments in central London, the first phases are usually sold off plan in Asia to Asian buyers who snap up properties at questionably high prices, setting an inflated benchmark. Looking at a lot of the ‘prices per square foot’ being paid in a number of these developments, for example St George’s The Tower in next door Vauxhall, the prices just don’t stack up.
“Whilst the plans for Battersea Power Station look exciting, with investment in infrastructure and the creation of hotels, restaurants, shops, a theatre and cinema, my concern is whether they will be able to create a genuine community from scratch where such commercial outlets can really thrive and survive. Many other riverside developments which have been equally isolated from existing communities have failed so far. For example, Battersea Reach is quite isolated and has never been able to create a genuine community. A lot of those properties were bought by overseas investors and as a result, a large number of the flats there are either empty or occupied by tenants who inevitably move on fairly frequently and don’t have the same interest in the building as someone who actually owns their flat.
“The risk is that there will be a huge oversupply of flats, especially those for rent which have been bought by overseas buyers. As such, from an investment perspective, we’re warning our clients about oversupply of property and the risk of no real community, and we will wait to see if Nine Elms can really achieve what others haven’t.