An underused industrial swathe of Thames waterfront is to provide a permanent home for the Queen’s royal barge – and thousands of Londoners, too.
The £763million project by developer U+I will regenerate a 19-acre site, formerly Tate & Lyle’s sweetener factory, which is the last major industrial swathe left on the peninsula.
As well as homes there will be a four-acre park, rejuvenated river path, allotments, 50,000sq ft of shops and restaurants, plus a public square with a year-round programme of events.
A brand new neighbourhood with a royal seal of approval
Morden Wharf will also have a high-profile focal point – a spectacular boathouse designed to showcase Gloriana, the ornate 88ft rowbarge that was the centrepiece of the Queen’s drizzly Diamond Jubilee celebration in 2012. The vessel has since been at a temporary outdoor mooring at St Katharine Docks.
“Morden Wharf is designed to foster community and has the right mix of uses to create a successful and vibrant neighbourhood, all stitched together with beautiful public realm,” said Reinier de Graaf, director of celebrated Dutch architecture firm OMA (Office for Metropolitan Architecture), and the project’s lead architect.
“We have drawn design inspiration from Greenwich Peninsula’s industrial heritage – from the warehouses and silos that once sat on the site, to the iron lattice structure of the gasholders. We have also looked back further, to the original marshland landscape of the peninsula, and in creating the park and public realms we are seeking to return the post-industrial landscape to a more natural and ecologically diverse condition.”
The first homes are due to go on sale at the Wharf in about three years and the first residents are expected to move in around 2024. About a third of the homes will be lower-cost, aimed at first-time buyers and squeezed renters.
What there is to buy now
The whole site, close to North Greenwich station in Zone 2 on the Jubilee line, and also with a river bus pier, will be built out by 2031, by which time the Greenwich Peninsula development up the road will have evolved further. Its new design district will – all being well – have found its feet, there will be more homes to rent and to buy, and new open spaces to explore.
In the meantime sales are well under way at The River Garden, 277 new homes being built by Bellway just south of Morden Wharf. The current phase is almost sold out, although three-bedroom family-sized properties start at £705,000 and residents will enjoy use of a private gym and pool, as well as a network of shared gardens and play areas.
This represents good value for money for the area. At Upper Riverside, the super-swanky development at the very tip of the Greenwich Peninsula, three-bedroom flats start at £920,000. It must be said, however, that the Upper Riverside residents amenities and river views are exceptional.
Next year the final phase of 82 homes at The River Garden will go on sale, with smaller flats, and shared-ownership homes in the mix (www.bellway.co.uk; https://www.bellway.co.uk/new-homes/thames-gateway/the-river-gardens).
A Zone 2 address for first-time buyers
Meanwhile, first-time buyers could bag a slice of the peninsula for less than £100,000 at a new development of shared-ownership apartments at Greenwich Square which go on sale this month.
Prices start at £96,250 for a 25 per cent share of a one-bedroom flat with a full market value of £385,000. There are also two-bedroom flats, starting from £133,750 for a 25 per cent share, and three-bedroom homes starting at £166,250 for a quarter share.
The development, as its name suggests, is designed as a modern garden square, with homes overlooking a central garden. Trains from nearby Maze Hill station to London Bridge take just 11 minutes
The local property scene
What is particularly interesting about Morden Wharf and its nearby developments is that the new homes are being built amid streets of established period houses – mostly two-bedroom cottages priced £650,000 to £700,000. In Braddyll Street, JLL is listing a two-up two-down cottage with roses around the door for £695,000.
This means that there is an established range of local shops and pubs, such as the Cutty Sark Tavern, as well as the new facilities being built across the peninsula. Just to the south, residents will also be able to walk to Greenwich Village, Greenwich Park and Blackheath, thus ticking the coffee culture and open space boxes.
There are also plenty of contemporary apartments in nearly new buildings. Two-bedroom flats are on sale from around £450,000 – which means you could buy without stamp duty. John Payne estate agents is selling a two-bedroom, two-balcony flat in Commerell Street with a guide price of £525,000.