Here at Manse and Garret Property Search we source properties in London’s best areas and on London’s best roads. However only occasionally do we come across properties in London’s best buildings – buildings so unique and well known that they often command a higher price tag than other comparable homes in the area. We always have to ask ourselves, is the extravagance of the address worth the extra money?
When the GLC was abolished in 1986, the grand, Ralph Knott designed “Edwardian Baroque” building located on the south bank of the Thames became surplus to requirements. The site was eventually sold in 1992 to the Japanese property developer Shirayama for a reported £60m – just before a recession and property slump. Given the economic climate, this figure raised a few eyebrows in the property world and some were concerned that Shirayama would not have the money to convert the building, having already spent so much to procure it. With hindsight it was a solid investment. The luxury hotel, aquarium, museum, exhibition space and restaurants attract over 17million visitors a year. The converted flats sell for around £800 – £900 a square foot – outside of the popular Shad Thames, these levels are uncommon for the SE1 postcode. These well-located flats, in the handsome Portland Stone building with excellent views have never failed to attract buyers and tenants.
Last year it was announced that the long term viability of the Houses of Parliament as the seat of British government was being questioned. Having always been an expensive place to run, the whole building is suffering from subsidence, and is slowly sliding into the River Thames. Thought to have been affected by the excavation of the Jubilee Line extension in the 1990s, and the underground car parking complex on site, surveyors have said that repairs to the building would take at least five years to complete. Government accountants argue that it doesn’t make sense to spend an estimated £1billion to repair an estate that is worth £1billion, although I am sure that English Heritage might think otherwise.
The Houses of Parliament, if converted to commercial and residential premises would no doubt be an even more popular housing and property destination than County Hall. With 872 ft of river frontage on a site of approximately 8 acres, the number of luxury residences that could be created would certainly tempt any number of wealthy buyers, many of whom would happily buy off-plan to own such a desirable piece of real estate in one of London’s best known buildings with the SW1 postcode to match. Proximity to Westminster tube, to the West End and the caché that comes with owning property in one of the world’s most iconic buildings would certainly create demand for any residential property that was available on site and it is likely that the price per square foot achieved would be well above the £1,500 average that this part of Westminster currently commands.
So it seems sometimes paying more for property in one of London’s best buildings can pay off, not to mention also giving you an address everyone will recognise and a home or business everyone will want to come and see. If you need Manse and Garret to locate a unique home for you or a unique addition to your property portfolio please don’t hesitate to get in touch.