London’s skyline is getting taller. A lot, lot taller, as more than 100 skyscrapers are set to be erected, it emerged today.
The 100 residential tower blocks are either already under construction or have planning permission, estate agent Knight Frank said in a report.
The report identifies 25 blocks over 20 stories which are already being built and a further 78 with permission.
“This is London’s decade of towers: with residential land values up 20.3% in the last twelve months and a population boom, a need for the most effective use of space is evident,” says Stephen Miles-Brown, head of Knight Frank Residential Development.
Not all approved towers however are guaranteed to be built as developers are struggling to get sufficient funding. While there are even more towers in the pipeline, this might put a dampener on further construction, Knight Frank said.
”Only 30% of the schemes including towers with planning permission are underway – partially a symptom of the challenging funding climate,” says Miles-Brown.
“The well-designed, centrally-located towers we will see succeed in the next few years will have a definite cachet – the clear premium for living at the top is a key driver in the development of a tower.”
The typical uplift in price per square foot in a residential tower in London is 1.5% per floor. But penthouses hike values up and when added, increase values to 2.2% per floor, the report found.
On the whole, the higher and thinner the property is the more expensive it is. The ten apartments in The Shard near London Bridge, Europe’s highest residences, are expected to sell for between £30 and £50 million.
According to the report, the Shard’s success has eased the way for other “new age” developments, but building permission is still difficult to get, especially in central London.
“City Planning Officer Peter Rees has publicly said that we’re unlikely to see more tall towers in the City itself after the current spate complete. But while the Square Mile may have called time on building up, across London tall buildings are the landmarks of the future, says Chris Brett, a partner at planning and design consultancy Barton Willmore.
“Towers that have a limited impact on the historic context of London are far more likely to be given the go-ahead. Clustering tall buildings is also preferred so that their effect on the London skyline can be managed, making areas like the Docklands and, more recently, Nine Elms a natural home for towers.”
The upsurge in planned construction has additionally been driven by the government’s 2016 deadline after which all large-scale residential developments will be required to be carbon-neutral.
While the pledge remains murky, and experts are unsure about what will actually constitute a zero-emission building, it will make fashionable glass designs much more difficult to build, the report said.
Developers have therefore rushed to get projects underway before the deadline, even if the current economic crisis has made moves risky.
“In a thriving city such as London, tall towers work and are recognised as having an important role to play,” says Brett. “They allow many thousands more people to live and work in the central zone and near major transport hubs and have tremendous power to regenerate the area around them.
“We are seeing the emergence of more and more tall buildings away from the central commercial district. New developments in the likes of Lewisham, Chelsea and Hackney underline both the political support and market demand for tall buildings,” he added.
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