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The Unstoppable Rise Of Westminster, Victoria And Pimlico

11 Dec 2019

The Northacre Journal

With its wealth of historic buildings, no other part of London is as unique as the enclave of Westminster, Victoria and Pimlico. Ideally located close to Buckingham Palace, the Houses of Parliament, Tate Britain and St James’s Park, this enviable central location has fast become an enticing residential hotspot for the discerning city dweller. For workers, commuting through the area’s main transport hub, Victoria Station, and for international culture vultures alike, the area has an exciting new appeal.

Thanks to renewed interest and investment, recent developments such as Nova, Eccleston Yards and Market Halls have brought a slew of new restaurants and street food brands to the area. As for Michelin-starred restaurants, Westminster boasts more than anywhere else in the capital. Heston Blumenthal’s 'Dinner', and Marcus Wareing’s namesake, 'Marcus', are but two. SW1 is also home to the main offices of Giorgio Armani and Burberry. And if you thought that Tom Ford and Jimmy Choo might choose to run their businesses from prestigious Bond Street or Sloane Street then think again. Howick Place which runs just off Victoria Street is where you'll find their global brand headquarters.

According to a new UK Living Research paper published by the real estate consultants JLL, house prices in the City of Westminster have jumped 368 % over the last 20 years, an average of 8% per annum compared to the Greater London average of 311% and 7.3% pa respectively.

The report cites that almost all residential developments, past, recent, current and planned, are redevelopments of existing office buildings. Many of these traditional Westminster premises were once home to government departments full of civil servants who have since relocated to other parts of the city. The JLL findings also show that the number of units under construction has increased from 244 in 2017, with 630 currently being built. A further 102 private units in three schemes in the Westminster, Victoria and Pimlico locality are in the planning pipeline, while a growing number of pioneering new-build properties is attracting a different type of buyer to the area and helping to diversify its resident base.

Northacre’s exciting new developments are also highlighted in the report. These include No. 1 Palace Street, a stunning heritage revival development fusing five architectural styles of façade into one modern masterpiece overlooking Buckingham Palace. Then there is The Broadway, an impressive new build-scheme, located on the former site of the Metropolitan Police headquarters. With six striking residential towers at its centre, The Broadway will offer bird’s-eye views over Westminster and the iconic London skyline beyond.

As for the decision to build here, Northacre CEO Niccolò Barattieri di San Pietro comments: ”You have four world heritage sites, one next to the other. And many people don't appreciate how central it is. We chose it because we just couldn't understand why, until recently, it was so unloved.'

Given the calibre of other eagerly anticipated schemes, the JLL report predicts that the £3,000 per sq ft pricing threshold will frequently be challenged and surpassed over the next ten years.

"Not since the Victorian era has the area of Westminster and Victoria seen such sweeping transformation," says Ruth Duston, OBE, chief executive of the Victoria Westminster Business Improvement District (BID). Driven by local businesses, BID was founded in 2009 with the sole aim of putting the area firmly on the map. Since then, this non-profit business has successfully undertaken ambitious green projects, such as Christchurch Gardens, and continues to address thorny issues such as air quality and rough sleeping. It has also galvanised key players to press forward the redevelopment plans for Victoria Station and worked with its local partners to support young people into employment.

“Over the past decade, we’ve seen the movement of corporate HQ’s, innovative tech agencies, and of course, some of the leading fashion houses into the area. With more growth set for Victoria over the coming years, we expect to welcome many more of these familiar businesses,” adds Duston.

For the re-energised locals of Westminster, Victoria and Pimlico, the sky’s the limit.