Battersea Power Station has been called the ‘Everest of real estate’ because of the challenges it has presented to those who have looked to undertake the development over the years.
After seven years of hard work since our shareholders bought the 42-acre site, we are prospering on many fronts: more than 1,000 residents and 20 businesses call the development home. We are very much on the countdown to completion for the power station, with 2,500 people working on site and an average daily spend of £2m.
Despite this considerable progress, recent articles, including in Property Week, have inaccurately reported that we have sold or might offer to sell apartments at significant discounts – of up to 40%. That is categorically untrue.
The reality is that we continue to sell well even in the current challenging market and will not entertain such a strategy. Sales in the last 12 months have been in excess of £120m as people continue to commit to living here.
Of course, there have been challenges but we have the unwavering support and commitment from our shareholders, who have the ability to maximise market cycles by taking a long-term view and who recognise the value in the development. Their commitment and ongoing confidence were again demonstrated last month when we announced the largest real estate transaction in the UK with Permodalan Nasional Berhad and the Employees Provident Fund of Malaysia investing £1.583bn in the commercial assets within the power station.
We are delivering a unique piece of real estate, the likes of which can be found nowhere else in the world.
It is the mix of uses next to the Thames that is exciting people, including our anchor office tenant Apple, retailers and hundreds of residents at Circus West Village (phase one) who are enjoying living here.
We have sold some 90% of the apartments across the development and prices in Circus West have been very strong – the blended average uplift from launch to the present day is 36%, with some recent sales seeing a 40% uplift. As well as 4,239 homes, we are building 3m sq ft of commercial space, 250 shops and restaurants, leisure spaces, cinemas and even a chimney lift – all accessed by a new Zone 1 tube station with access to 18 acres of public space.
We have leased more than 50% of the commercial space in the power station with the retail being a mix of world-leading brands and stores that are needed to support a thriving new community.
“We are delivering a unique piece of real estate, the likes of which can be found nowhere else”
At the heart of our development is the grade II*-listed building itself, which is the star of the show. When it opens in 2021, it is predicted to attract 40 million visitors per year.
We are determined to play our part in the local community. Almost 400 locals have found jobs and apprenticeships, with our foundation donating £6m to local charities.
It is easy to criticise ambitious developments that inevitably go through cycles as they are built. But the power really is back on at Battersea. We are close to reaching the summit of the Battersea ‘Everest’ and creating something that everyone can be proud of. Why not come and see how we are doing for yourself?
Simon Murphy is chief executive of Battersea Power Station Development Company