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November 21, 2013
London’s Best Property Developments: The Lancasters, London
The Lancasters is an exclusive development located on the North side of London’s Hyde Park. The South and East side of Hyde Park – the Knightsbridge and Park Lane end – are traditionally considered to be the most fashionable and desirable faces of the park. The ultra-exclusive West End, Kensington Palace Gardens, also known as Billionaires Row, is home to some of the world’s wealthiest individuals. Property on the North side of Hyde Park (the Bayswater district) has traditionally and historically been less competitively priced than other more desirable faces of the park.
However, property prices at The Lancasters rivalled other areas of London that are in high demand and property on this development has long been sold out despite the first units only being released in June 2010. So what makes The Lancasters development so special, and why were purchasers willing to pay above the norm for this area?
The Lancasters comprises of 77 properties in total. The building itself dates back to the mid nineteenth century and was originally an elegant parade of 15 prestigious townhouses. The developers, Minerva and Northacre, and the architects, Nilsson, have managed to renovate the internal structure to cleverly combine old and modern in a subtle and stylish way, utilising luxury interior brand names like Linley and Helen Green to deliver beautifully finished homes.
The apartments are mostly leasehold (The freehold is owned by Cambulo), of approximately just under 1,000 years. The developers bought the site in 2006 for £67.2 million.The redevelopment of The Lancasters was completed around November 2011. The price of property in this development have shattered previous records for the area.
Price per square foot:
Ground floor and lower ground floor apartments were at the bottom end of the price scale for the development as they receive the least amount of light and are accessed from a separate rear entrance. For example, a lower ground floor 1-bedroom apartment is now priced at £1,322 per square foot.
The properties on the higher levels, including the sought after penthouses, commanded a higher price. These properties offer south facing views of Hyde Park. For example, a third floor 3-bedroom apartment is now priced at £3,792 per square foot.
This is a joint venture between the investment and development company, Minerva plc, and the developer, Northacre plc.
Minerva has a number of real estate assets, mainly in the Greater London area. Their other projects have included the Walbrook Building and the Odeon Kensington. Northacre has been established for over 20 years and in that time they have designed, developed and marketed over £1.5 billion of prime residential sites in London. Their previous developments have included The Phillimores (66 award-winning apartments in a former Kings College facility) and Observatory Gardens (an award-winning scheme to revive an entire Victorian Terrace in Kensington to create 53 purpose-built apartments).
The architects are Nilsson Architects, who have an established working relationship with Northacre. They are experienced in restoring old buildings to their former glory, whilst integrating latest technology and comforts into their designs. Other projects also include the award-winning developments The Phillimores and Observatory Gardens.
Why people have bought here?
It has prestige
The Lancasters is a 19th century grade II listed building. It has a white stucco façade. The development benefits from private gardens that have been landscaped over underground parking, valet parking, security system (including digital entry phone system and CCTV), 24-hour concierge service, gym, spa, swimming pool, steam room and treatment room.
It offers luxury
As well as security, concierge, valet parking and spa facilities servicing the development, each apartment has been fully equipped to match this offering. This includes the latest in modern technology including a comfort cooling system with electric under floor and ceiling heating, Whole House Ventilation (WHV) and a computerised lighting control system.
The interior designers Intarya, whose other projects include luxury properties in Mayfair and Knightsbridge (and even the interior of a superyacht) have designed the communal interior of the development. Units themselves have also been designed by prestigious interior designers including Helen Green and Linley. The apartments have been all finished with the utmost in luxury and design. All kitchens are fitted with Gaggenau or Miele appliances and have granite or stone worktops. The bathrooms have Spanish and Italian marble tiling and modern chromium brassware by Fantini.
It’s got history
Dating back to the Mid Nineteenth century The Lancasters was originally a parade of Grade II listed houses. London, and the elegance of the city’s history, holds great appeal to foreign buyers. In the 1970s it was converted into a Thistle Hotel.
This development has broken property price records for the area, which is testament to its character and charm. The local council has set the area as a Business Improvement District and is in consultation with local residents and businesses. The W2 postcode also appeals to foreign buyers and investors who see London as their destination of choice, especially whilst the sterling has been weak. There are good transport links nearby including Lancaster Gate and Paddington Stations. It is also a quieter area than other properties South and Face of Hyde Park.
Who’s talking about it?
The Lancasters has received extensive coverage in the UK press as well as some renowned international publications. These include:
The Times, Bricks and Mortar, February 2012: “The end product, a blend of period and modern convenience, may be one reason why The Lancasters has turned into the surprise hit of the high-end new-build sector.”
Luxury Properties, July-August 2011: “The classical stucco exterior is reflected in the newly-constructed apartments, which have high ceilings, traditional fireplaces and Victorian style cornicing modelled on original 1850s architecture.”
Wall Street Journal, November 2010: “American businessman Joseph Shields has just bought a two-bedroom apartment in The Lancasters. He said the ultra-high spec combined with the security of the in-house concierge sealed the deal. ‘The Lancasters gives us all of the luxury facilities and amenities we need to maximise the productivity and comfort of our London visits. And you don’t need to worry about security if you are away for several months,’ he says, adding that buying a property in London has been the lynchpin to his property portfolio, which includes luxury properties in Asia, Europe and the U.S.”
This high-end project has commanded above average prices for property for the Bayswater area. It is a unique development offering period façade, combined with luxury and high level of standards and services homeowners can expect from The Lancasters. Although it is not as prestigious as Knightsbridge or Mayfair, with its luxury boutique offering and world famous department store, it does offer spectacular views of Hyde Park, with period charm and architectural character that is a trait of London’s landscape.