Innovative joint venture delivers rental housing in London Docklands

Private rented homes will form the centrepiece of a new development in London’s Docklands, set to transform the Canada Water area south of the River Thames and east of central London.

An innovative deal involving developer Sellar Design & Developments and housing association Notting Hill Housing will deliver around 1,000 homes, of which just over one third will be for long term private rent. There will also be 453 apartments for sale, and 162 units for the affordable housing sector ie destined for tenants on local authority waiting lists. There will also be 69 units for shared ownership occupancy.

By combining private rented homes with housing built for sale, it will be possible for the developer to accelerate the construction programme for the whole project – something that is bound to give other developers with major residential schemes food for thought. “It condenses a development programme from what could be nine years to, say, five years,” said James Sellar, chief executive of Sellar Design & Development, speaking recently to Property Week.

Sellar and Notting Hill Housing project at Canada Water

Sellar and Notting Hill Housing project at Canada Water

Apart from the financial benefit to the developer, the increased pace of development should also benefit residents. Those who move in early will see all the elements of the scheme – including retail and commercial space and a sports and health centre – finished much more quickly, rather than waiting for potentially years for the developer to complete sales.

Both Sellar and Notting Hill will provide equity funding to start the project off, with a further loan from Notting Hill. The housing association has committed to buy the completed private rented sector homes, giving the developer the flexibility to start work more quickly on other phases such as the flats for sale.

The first block of rental apartments should be ready for renting in 2017. Designs for the project are by architects David Chipperfield and Maccreanor Lavington, and will include a 40 storey landmark tower. One key to unlocking the site, is the relocation of a Decathlon superstore, which will move to a new purpose built block within the new scheme.

Kate Davies, Chief Executive of Notting Hill Housing, commented: “The project marks a significant move in our ambition to create more quality new homes across central London and, in particular, to expand our ‘open market rent’ portfolio. This scheme will represent our largest ever development of new rental homes and will increase our exciting offering by almost 50%.”

James Sellar promised: “The scheme will provide a truly striking development in the heart of a previously overlooked part of London as well as creating a new town centre for Canada Water.”

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