After 25 years of speculation over the future of the Battersea Power Station a Malaysian consortium has bought the protected 39-acre site for 400 million pounds ($635 Million). The consortium plans to begin renovating the London Landmark in 2013, preserving the power station’s iconic architecture while building a multi-use development over the next 15 years. The consortium is a group of investors including developers SP Setia, Sime Darby, and the Employees Provident Fund pension fund, and the development will include apartments, offices, a shopping center, a hotel, an art space and 3,400 new homes.
The Battersea Power Station is a decommissioned coal-fired power station located on the south bank of the River Thames in the district of South West London. The stations were built in the 1930s and 1950s and include four art deco styled chimney stacks. The Battersea Power Station serves as a historic architectural piece not just because of its art deco styling but also because famed architect Sir Giles Gilbert Scott designed the Battersea. He also became well know as the designer of the Bankside Power Station, which now houses the Tate Modern art gallery. The building is also famous for being featured on a Pink Floyd album cover and in the Beatles film Help!
Some skeptics are concerned that this new Battersea development is too ambitious. The development team is tasked at selling the 3,400 homes to reach a value of 8 billion pounds by the end of the 15 year period. Tom Bill of Reuters writes that this “equates to selling 227 homes per year versus an average in London of 100”. The consortium even aims to sell around 800 of these homes in 6 months time next year!
The four-year-long first phase of this redevelopment is set to begin in 2013 with the renovation of the power station. The Malaysian consortium will pay about 203 million pounds to help move this phase along, while also funding the renovation of the London Tube in the area of Battersea. This development will flood the area with new activity, and outside of new housing, the proposal of 1.7 million square feet of offices and shopping will create heavy daytime pedestrian traffic. Though this will help bring more of London’s suburban population downtown, the market is sure to get stung with the influx of housing next year.
Even with concerns, it is exciting to see such development in a city as storied as London. Architects Rafael Viñoly and Terry Farrell have both proposed sustainable designs for this development, and hopefully the final designer will help Battersea become a shining example of sustainability in London.