On a slushy and wind whipped day last week PrimeLocation was in Southwark in central London passing by one of the UK’s most amazing engineering projects, one which has been rapidly climbing into the sky near London Bridge since building work began in 2009.
The Shard, which is nearing completion and should open its doors in May or early June this year, has thrust its 1,000-plus feet of glass-lined spire into London’s skyline despite hostility and official opposition from English Heritage. It’s also effecting a stark transformation of the area around London Bridge Station which has few other architectural highlights.
What’s most unusual about The Shard (compared to the capital’s other famous skyscrapers such as The Gherkin and the Nat West Tower), is that as well as being an office block, 13 of its 72 habitable floors have been set aside for apartments whose future inhabitants, on a clear day, will be able to see for 44 miles across London. There’s also a hotel, office space and several viewing floors at the top; what agents like to call mixed use.
What’s not known though, is how much apartments will go for. Developer Sellar Property Group has so far refused to say how much they will cost or even when they will officially come on the market, so we’re going to have a go at working out their likely future asking price without their help.
Large apartments in London tend to be between 5,000 and 10,000 square foot and a spokesman for Sellar recently told Bloomberg it would build 12 properties within the 64,000 sq ft residential space, giving the apartments an average footprint of 5,100 sq ft.
Several agents have said the Shard’s residential floors should attract prices of around £4,000 per square foot – valuing each apartment at around £20 million, which will inevitably create headlines once the first sales go through.
Such lofty per square foot prices have already been reached in London. Peter Bill, former editor of property industry bible Estates Gazette, recently reckoned that prices at One Hyde Park, the Candy Brothers’ luxury apartment development in Knightsbridge, are already at £4,500 or so per square foot rising to £6,000 for the more sought-after apartments. Also, agent Knight Frank has also said luxury property in central London will reach £10,000 per square foot by 2016.