Old Spitalfields Market in London to be sold for £100m
Old Spitalfields market, one of London’s top-ten visitor attractions, could be set to emerge on the property market as proprietors Ballymore Group weigh up selling the site to generate funds for its new Embassy Gardens development in Battersea.
At present, no formal decision has been made on the future of the unique Victorian market hall, but sources have confirmed that Ballymore Group have drawn up a shortlist of suitable companies to advise on marketing Spitalfields to potential buyers within the U.K. and overseas.
The sale would throw the future of Spitalfields market into question, and is likely to be highly controversial with both stall holders and nostalgic Londoners alike. The site is home to 3,900sq m of A3 rated retail space in grade 2 listed buildings, with additional shops, bars and restaurants surrounding the premises.
The equity from a sale would be used to finance a new large development on the Nine Elms site in Battersea, which is touted as a “bold 21st century mixed use development, drawing on inspiration from the attractive residential and commercial estates which evolved over time in cities like New York and Boston,” according a company spokesperson.
Ballymore claim the new development will create, “an entirely new district that Londoners can be proud of.” Commenting further, they say the project will be a highly collaborative effort, drawing on the influences and cooperation of several architectural teams.
The move appears to be part of a larger strategy - encouraged by the government and initiated by UK property developers - to capitalise on the shortage of affordable housing currently gripping the nation, with recent figures showing an unquenched demand in residential markets fuelling ballooning house prices.
According to recent UK housing statistics, the provision of affordable housing in the UK is coming to a head, with reports outlining a shortfall in the construction of new homes which is likely to be 100,000 short of the required 200,000 at present.
Figures released today show the housing price index to have risen, reflecting a competitive buyers’ market with plenty of room for expansion. It would come as no surprise if property investors begin turning their attention to lucrative residential property markets.
In London, demand for new flats has reached record levels, with half of new builds now being sold before construction has begun. Figures from CBRE, show sales of high value properties in London priced at well over £1000 sq ft, representing a rise of 240% on the previous year.
Government measures aimed at tackling the housing crisis in the capital include proposals to convert an abundance of vacant office space into residential flats, as reported recently by SOS.
According to the Independent, the government are also seriously considering building floating homes as a solution to the housing demand, with a potential development of 64 metal stilted homes in Surbiton, south west London, attracting significant interest.
A possible contractor benefitting from a green light on the project, Hydro Properties, said in a statement, "We think this scheme can be the ultimate demonstration site, to show how man and nature can be developed together in a highly sustainable way”.