Canary Wharf Group was never going to slip quietly into the housing market through the back door.
It has spent more than 20 years transforming the disused Docklands into a skyline of glittering towers.
And the move into apartments is the company “inviting people to live in its home,” said director of residential sales Brian De’ath.
A home that will benefit from the same army of security guards, cameras and cleaners that keep the business district so pristine.
Customers queued overnight on the pavement to snap up a slice of that lifestyle when its first residential property 10 Park Drive went on the market. But the launch of One Park Drive has been an altogether more regal affair.
It will be the signature building in the new section of the estate – leased from The Canal And River Trust for 250 years – and will feature 3,300 apartments, 275,000sq ft of retail space, a school, surgery and parks.
Brian said: “This is Canary Wharf, the part you can live in. It is not a separate entity, it is one and the same.
“The people who are buying here will do so on the strength of our management. Here you are investing in a 120 acre private estate and the 1,000 people that manage it on a day-to-day basis.”
The company called on world renowned architects Herzog And De Meuron to design the 58-storey One Park Drive and said it will “define the standards by which all future residential projects will come to be measured”.
And no expense has been spared on its equally ambitious marketing plan.
Not content with its sales office in Jubilee Place, a plush suite has been built at its headquarters on Level 31 of One Canada Square and it held an exclusive event there on Thursday, May 4, to launch the 483 homes.
It includes a fully furnished 1017sq ft two-bedroom show apartment, models of One Park Drive, screens showing simulations of the future skyline and an impressive interactive model of what the estate will look like when completed in 2023.
The company’s confidence is such that interested buyers have to come to them in Canary Wharf.
“We haven’t been anywhere. We have been here. There is no better showpiece than this marketing suite.”
More than 350 people have already been through its doors, where hefty marketing material is printed on thick creamy paper and they and can sit down to lunch with Brian or even Canary Wharf Group chairman and CEO Sir George Iacobescu to discuss their purchase.
“I never start out with an idea of who I am going to attract,” said Brian, 42, who was hired in July 2014 to head the move into the residential market.
“You should concentrate on what you are developing and make sure it is the very best and people will want to live in it.
“One Park Drive is the chance to live in a Herzog And De Meuron which you can’t do anywhere else in the UK.”
He quashed the idea the apartments, which come with a 250-year lease, would fall foul of buy-to-leave.
“The building doesn’t lend itself to that. These people certainly won’t be parking their money.”
Brian said Herzog And De Meuron’s design ignored many standard practises within architecture.
Some of the largest and most expensive apartments are at the base of the tower, to take advantage of the parkland that will surround it and the water of South Dock on two sides.
And instead of being stacked on top of each other, homes are staggered to provide double height terraces and a mix of apartment sizes on most floors.
“If you like a two-bed flat I can give it to you facing west, south-east, whatever you like,” said Brian.
The leisure facilities will include a ground floor library, lounge, cinema room, and the first floor boasting a 20m swimming pool.
Brian said: “This building is exceptional in my opinion but we have this floor given over to showing people what we are building, so they can make their own minds up about it.”
Prices start at £575,000 for a studio, £750,000 for a one-bed, £1.08million for a two-bed and £1.625million for a three-bed.
For more information about One Park Drive call 020 7001 3800 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
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