The Broadway is a new super luxury development in the centre of Westminster which looks to set to usher in a new era of urban living for London. Due for completion in 2021, the dynamic new commercial and residential destination will raise the bar for residential developments in the capital.
The tail end of 2016 was not a very hopeful period. If you flashback to the fourth quarter of last year doom and gloom was rife. Donald Trump was elected president, Brexit was approved and the immigrant situation in Europe was only making things worse. Nevertheless, there was a silver lining for some in the London property sector when a ground-breaking new deal was made in the centre of the city. On November 2016, the former New Scotland Yard headquarters was transferred to new owners, BL Development Limited, who then appointed Northacre to develop the new scheme into The Broadway. It was one of the biggest property deals in London and one of the rare few to occur in Westminster. In addition, Northacre had plans to take it to whole new level and break ground in the industry like never before.
Returning to 2017, it appears the soon-to-be-completed project has been more successful than anyone envisioned. While the gloominess still abounds, there is a newfound optimism for in London real estate. After all, what goes down must come back up eventually, and demand for developments like The Broadway is growing together with the weaker pound and low interest rates. Growth is also expected in these key boroughs over the next five years as more projects are completed.
“In London we’ve now entered a binary market where the buyers are more sophisticated. They understand what they want, they don’t have a sense of urgency and they are waiting to buy the properties they love,” says Niccolò Barattieri di San Pietro, Northacre’s Chief Executive. “These are properties put together well by reputable developers in great locations that are great assets – these still have pricing power which, although selling slightly slower, are still selling.”
In other words, in comparison to the mad rush of the bull market of a few years ago, there are less sales overall, but the sales that are happening are top quality, and this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. These sales are going to many buyers from the Chinese and South East Asian markets, who are maturing and graduating to buy proper luxury homes – they understand the quality and are much more discerning. Besides, the London property market experienced just about 23 consecutive years of sustained growth up until 2014, and a pause and correction needed to come eventually, which is where the capital is at now. This hiatus has also cleared out a lot of the lacklustre development schemes, which weren’t giving buyers a good bang for their buck anyway.
So, enter The Broadway, a new pioneering multifaceted project featuring a 20,000 square foot public courtyard and a pedestrianised piazza. Due to be completed in 2021, The Broadway will offer six architecturally striking buildings set over two podiums. There will be 3.55 million square feet of state-of-the-art residential space, from the fourth floor all the way to the 19th floor, including 285 apartments. It is set to be a vibrant new hub, providing 146,000 square foot of commercial space and 37,500 square foot of retail. The lucky residents who reside there will have royalty as their neighbours, and boast one of the most sought-after addresses in the world. Downing Street and Buckingham Palace are literally minutes away.
“With our project, you can tell the difference,” Niccolò comments. “Even in the software, the story, the legacy, one can see how this development stands out. It’s an experience.”
This experience is part of a new London property development trend which some are calling the supernest phenomenon. The term has been used to describe private residences which are selling much more than four walls. Like luxury residential complexes in Hong Kong, these projects sell all of the lifestyle benefits, services and amenities which are normally seen in high-end hotel suites. In the current market atmosphere, these supernests are also getting sold to more overseas clients than locals. For example, eight units which had previously failed to sell at Northacre’s nearby No. 1 Palace Street development was snapped up a Hong Kong-based investor this year.
“With The Broadway we are not just creating a residential development, but making a community and a destination that is pleasant to be in. We wanted to create a development full of life – we want people to love the lifestyle, so we’ve even conceptualised office and retail space, for example,” Niccolò says.
This means they won’t just let any client rent their office and retail spaces because they want to attract the right kind of clientele. In fact, they are even trying to coin a new catchphrase, Westminster Cool. They have also planned entertaining spaces to have events and parties and such – communal spaces for the residents which goes with the vibrancy and the lifestyle they are trying to sell.
“We want to bring heart and fun to a very serious part of London, full of kings and queens and politicians that have decided the fate of the world for centuries,” says Niccolò.
They also did not want to compromise on quality at any stage of the development, so instead of exploiting square foot for profit they maximised and enhanced the potential of the space wherever they could. For example, there are no ground or lower ground floor units, which are predominant in other parts of London. They didn’t want to have any compromised units, and so on the private fourth-floor podium where the residential units start there are already views over some adjacent rooftop buildings.
They wanted to focus on the quality of the square foot for their clients. Whereas most other developments would have capitalised on the space and made big dense building to cash in and maximise the amount of sellable floor space, they chose to create six buildings across two podiums. This means they lost a lot of square foot and had to pay to build more façade, but it has enabled them us to give all the apartments, even single ones, a dual aspect – windows on two or more sides. So there are no long corridors, there are minimal apartments around each unit, and there are a lot of windows in living rooms and natural light to make the flats special.
They also paid meticulous attention detail to the furnishings, materials, construction and even considered how the development would interact with the surroundings. The former New Scotland Yard headquarters they purchased is situated on the edge of a heritage conservation area with many protected 1850 and 1870 buildings situated around it. While this meant there were a lot of requirements and rules they had to adhere to, this also means that once The Broadway is finished the area around it will never change, so the unique views afforded to each residential unit are for life.
“We were lucky because the original building we demolished to create the new one was really ugly and knocking it down was welcome, and also we are adjacent to the conservation area but not in it,” says Niccolò. “We also wanted to make a soft transition where our development began to visually merge with the conservation area and so we used a terracotta finish to merge it and make it complement the red brick heritage buildings.”
It is clear that once completed, The Broadway is going to set a new standard for luxury London living. Everything has been so carefully considered that it is akin to an interior symphony. It will be a mini-city that will be a joy to reside in. While true luxury means different things to different people, Niccolò considers time the ultimate luxury and this is what he is trying to infuse into the properties he oversees.
“Time with family, time alone, time in life – this is luxury. So we want to make sure we have a vibrant destination that is a great joy to spend time in and ensure the services, features and elements we offer focus on what really matters in life,” he concludes.
Originally published in Today’s Living, Hong Kong.