Pete Wargent blogspot

CEO AllenWargent Property Buyers, & WargentAdvisory (institutional). 6 x finance author.

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Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Cranewatch - London development snapshot

I was expecting to see masses of development around London following on from the property price boom. Here's a quick 60 second snapshot of what I looked at today.

South Bank cranes

To the west of the Shakespeare's Globe and the Tate Modern, we see...cranes. 

There has been development aplenty around Borough and Southwark, while Lend Lease is undertaking a colossal regeneration of three sites comprising some 28 acres in Elephant & Castle. 

This development alone will provide 3000 new homes, over fifty new shops, restaurants, cafes and bars, and London's largest new park in over seventy years. Wow.

Ludgate Hill...more cranes

Below, looking across the once-wobbly Millennium Bridge to the City of London School and St Paul's Cathedral masks a swathe of new development around Cannon Street following on from the Paternoster Square triumph, including Minerva's massive Walbrook development.

The Walbrook development alone will add some 410,000 sq ft of commercial office space and 35,000 sq ft of retail and restaurant space. There's plenty more underway besides to the north of London Bridge.

Below, the phenomenally popular 87 storey Shard which was opened in 2013. It's London's tallest building and one of the tallest in Europe at well over 300 metres high. It looks unfinished at the top, but that's why they call it...ah, never mind.

Looking back at  the city over the infamous Traitors' Gate, where Anne Boleyn was taken by boat into the Tower of London to be executed by Henry VIII...and there are cranes practically everywhere all around the City's Square Mile (click image to enlarge).

Note above some of the other major developments of recent years. From the right, the Swiss Re building aka. 'The Gerkin', 122 Leadenhall aka. 'the Cheese Grater' and 20 Fenchurch Street aka. the 'Walkie Talkie'.

Londoners like to give tall buildings funny names, in case you didn't already notice.

Also note how the Walkie Talkie to the left of shot is currently in the process of having light-absorbing fins attached to its river-facing side. 

Last year, the building was reflecting heat of such incredible intensity that one poor chap had his Jaguar car melted. True story!

Moving across to the South Bank and the famous Oxo Tower (right of shot) is set to be upstaged by a monster redevelopment of the old South Bank Tower. 

In several stages over recent years permission has been granted to add another 11 levels to the existing 30 storeys. When completed and redeveloped the tower will stand at 128 metres and will be home to 173 apartments with retail space surrounding the base.

The British Airways London Eye. The massive new Southwark redevelopment visible to the north-east (bottom left of shot):

Looking over to the Square Mile from the south-west shows cranes everywhere (click to enlarge images).

This photo of Tower Bridge below is taken from the renowned 'white tower' in the Tower of London. 

Even from here, the oldest surviving building in London founded by William the Conqueror in 1066, we see yet more cranes.

To the east of the 'glass egg' or what Lord Mayor Livingstone christened 'the glass testicle' and Lord Mayor Boris Johnson calls 'the glass gonad' (officially, the Lord Mayor's building or City Hall - what did I say about silly names?), a stack of new development is underway, including One Tower Bridge.

Prices at One Tower Bridge ramp up rapidly from £3.36 million to £16 million for the penthouse collection - liabilities that debtors tortured on the rack in the 16th century could only have imagined...

One Tower Bridge (and the glass gonad) from out on the River Thames. 

Looking back at Traitors' Gate to the City and Square Mile.

When I used to do audit work at the Billingsgate Fish Markets 15 years ago, the are surrounding One Canada Square comprised modest housing in the Isle of Dogs and some fairly shoddy council flats in Poplar. 

The development of Canary Wharf since that time has been nothing short of staggering, and now a mass of further residential development is underway to complement the range of office space. 

Canary Wharf is now a major financial centre for London, being unique in its ability to transact with Asia and America thanks to the time zone, although Lehman Brothers have since departed tenancy.

Below, more cranes and new residential tower blocks being built across at South Quay to the south of Canary Wharf. Better known for being the bit on the credits sequence of Eastenders where the river bends around. 


I took this photo on the way into the wharf at Greenwich, which is one of the locations we at AllenWargent property buyers have bought property for our clients.

Along with Croydon, Greenwich is one of the areas we identified as 'overgrounder' hotspots, with rising Central London property prices causing young professionals to consider transport links that are not Tube lines.

Greenwich is located 5 miles from the City and is on the Docklands Light Railway as well as having other great transport choices.

Fanous for being home to the recently singed Cutty Sark and for giving the world its global standard measurement of time from the Royal Observatory (Greenwich Mean Time) Greenwich is a very attractive and fully regenerated location.

Greenwich is situated on the water and has great transport links to the City (Bank), Westfield Stratford to the east and central London (Charing Cross).

With an array of restaurants, pubs and shopping, what's not to like?

If you're interested in buying property in London, contact us at or email me at


With property prices having risen in London, a wide range of new developments are now underway, a small flavour of which I've captured with a few photos above. We expect to see something similar playing out in Sydney over the next 2-3 years.