“At the International Quarter in Stratford, together with our partner LCR, we’re planning 4 million ft² of office accommodation. We’re planning to create an innovative new office quarter for London. The advantage of this site is that all the infrastructure, including train/tube lines and local amenities, is already in place because of the Games, unlike when work started in Docklands some 25-30 years ago.
Elephant & Castle
“In addition to our work in Stratford we also have a development site at Elephant & Castle, which is primarily a residential-led development over 25 hectares in zone 1 (central) London. It’s an area that in the past was known for poor social housing, so we’re demolishing what’s there and starting again with around 2,800 new homes over the next decade. We’re hoping that the first residential tower will start next year.
“I think the difference with this project is that because we own such a large area of land, we’ll truly be able to create a new residential community for London. The advantage of being such a large landowner – coupled with our philosophy of working in partnership with communities and local authorities - is that we can completely transform an area. We can influence the estate management, the environment, the branding and the quality of the overall end product, which you can’t do with just one building in one location. And this is Lend Lease’s vision – to create the best places around the world. And because we’re long-term owners of property through our fund management capability, we’re able to invest in our developments over the long term.
Importance of London market
“There’s a huge amount of interest in residential property in London from overseas at the moment. London has become regarded as a safe haven, though it’s not the same for the UK overall. It’s still uncertain whether investments in London will flow through to the wider UK economy. In past recoveries, London has led the way and the rest of the country has followed, but because this recovery is more muted I believe that London will stay in isolation for a little while and that’s why our strategy is very much concentrated here. That is not to say that we don’t look at the rest of the UK. But our biggest projects are based in London and that is set to continue.”