Chinese developer R&F’s £60m investment isn’t just a further symbol of China’s growing purchasing power; as Liz Hamson’s leader suggests, it further highlights Croydon’s growing desirability among a global audience.
The investment from China has the potential to convert the site into a symbol of the new Croydon: an innovative development, funded internationally, that enlivens central Croydon’s last remaining available large redevelopment site. But why does the town appeal to a country that has the resources to invest in any project in any city in the world?
Clearly the investment prospect of Croydon is now such that its opportunities appeal to a wide audience. However, whether this is the impact of Croydon itself as a place or the decreasing investment prospects of historically more prestigious destinations is up for debate.
The R&F deal is particularly significant because it is the first time a mainland Chinese company has been attracted to the town. Chinese developers have over recent years built or invested in key developments in British cities; witness ABP’s £1.7bn Royal Albert Dock scheme in east London, Greenland Group’s Ram Brewery project in south-west London and Liverpool’s New Chinatown project.
With the downward pressure on residential yields in central London, and increasingly zones 2 and 3, Croydon’s appeal as an area is still relatively untapped, but with its regeneration under way it is becoming the town it has the potential to be.
It is a positive that Croydon is now competing against major cities as a location for investment and it can be proud its regeneration to date has given it such prominence.
Rarely do investors and developers look only at data when deciding where to invest - they also look at the character of an area and its prospects. All three are clearly proving compelling to investors, which is great for the town’s ongoing renewal.