Today Mayor Boris Johnson revealed which councils get to fill the nearly 700 flats reserved for the poorest families. More than half will come from Newham. In 12 months an equal number of subsidised flats for those on household incomes up to £60,000 will come to market. As will the 1400 private flats for those who can afford £1000 per month or more in rent.
Six months later, in mid-2013, the experiment begins with the staged handover of the homes from the Olympic Delivery Authority. This comes after a nine-month post-Games race to make the flats fit for the less athletic to inhabit. Those conducting the experiment say they are sure that, by mid-2014, the 11 eight-storey blocks in East Village, as it is to be called, will be filled.
Inhabitants will have a ready-made school for 1800 children and a ready-made town centre in the shape of Westfield Stratford. But this is not a sales pitch, for little of the village will be for sale.
The 1400 private flats (and land for 2000 more) were bought for £557 million by Jamie Ritblat's Delancey, with backing from Qatar. These will be rented. Join the queue on the East Village website.
The 700 flats left, after the councils take their 700, are reserved for those who cannot afford to buy - a whole flat at least. Some will be for rent, some for part-sale. Elliot Lipton's First Base, plus East Thames and Southern housing associations set up a joint venture called Triathlon Homes. That paid £268 million for these "affordable" homes, with a £110 million government grant and a £158 million bank loan.
Trouble is, you won't be able to get near the place until January 2013. That's when a "tenure blind" joint marketing suite will be set up on site by Delancey and Triathlon. Take it from me; you will need good eyesight to spot which flats are private, and which are subsidised. "We think the Village will have wide-ranging appeal'" says Barry Jessup of First Base: "from high flyers to local families."
Property sector interest is different. Could the East Village become a mixed-use template to build mixed communities where the property owner rents rather than sells, just as is normal with office blocks? Sceptics say not. The £825 million the taxpayer has received for 2800 homes and land is at least £200 million less than it cost to build the village and all its infrastructure.
But how about this? On Wednesday, Canary Wharf Group announced it had paid £90 million for full control of the 16.8-acre Wood Wharf site, to the east of its own fully infrastructured estate, which has planning for 1600 homes. The Qatari investors in East Village also own a quarter of the company that controls Canary Wharf. Only connect?
Centre would prefer hubbie to hub
In property, "hub" is code for "what the hell else can we do with this dammed White Elephant". On Wednesday, the Olympic Park Legacy Company announced a shortlist of three smallish and untested firms to take possession of the one-million-square-foot Media and Broadcast centre after the games. One group wants to turn it into a fashion hub, another into a sport and retail hub and the third into an IT… well, you've guessed. This white elephant might die sometime before 2020.
Change is in the Eyre… but finished product is still a mystery
At 10am precisely on Monday February 6, mounted soldiers of the King's Troop will clip-clop out of St John's Wood Barracks behind a military band, jingling their way to a new home in Woolwich.
A few days later, Malaysian billionaire, T Ananda Krishnan, will wire the bulk of the £250 million he agreed to pay the Eyre Estate last October for the five-acre barracks, owned by the Eyres since 1732.
Representatives of the 50-odd beneficiaries of the Eyre Estate, led by Jim Eyre, of architects Wilkinson Eyre, were reportedly a little teary when contracts were exchanged on October 21 at the Barbican offices of lawyers, Linklaters. Dry those eyes. Your agent, Cluttons, got you top price.
A price that means "Tak", as Krishnan is known, will need to sell the private units for £2500 per square foot.
Not that Tak needs to worry that much. The Malaysian of Sri Lankan extraction and who began his career as an oil trader after graduating from Harvard, is worth $9.6 billion (£6.2 billion), according to Forbes. He has interests around the world: a tiny slice of that is a 20% holding in Johnston Press, owners of the Yorkshire Post. So, a very busy man.
But those who know the highly active 73-year old, say the last thing he will do is simply get on and build the 133 homes designed for the Eyre Estate by architect John McAslan. For a start, the man who made his pile in energy and telecoms will need to appoint a big name to run Visionary Properties, the Jersey-registered company set up to build the 76 private and 57 affordable homes.
Then a development adviser who actually knows how to build high-priced homes will be required. That's because it is unlikely to be London Square - the developer staffed by former Barratt executives, which helped Tak formulate his bid.
A new team will probably suggest trying to find a cheaper spot to build the affordable units. Why? Two reasons. Getting £2500 square foot for the 357,400 square feet of sellable space adds up to nearly £900 million. The trouble is the 50,000 square feet of affordable homes are worth a 10th of that which clips more than £100 million from the end price. Finding another site makes financial sense, if the planners agree.
Tak might also be persuaded to build fewer, larger, units; something very à la mode at the moment. "When you are paying millions, you don't want to have your neighbours peering through the window," says one involved. So it could be that the burghers of St John's Wood will see something dramatically different emerge in a year or so.
Source: Evening Standard
Tags: FLATS | INFRASTRUCTURE