One of China’s biggest cross-border real estate investors is ready to start selling units at its £800million ($1.1 billion) London project and may get a chance to test first-hand whether Brexit has cooled buyer enthusiasm for UK housing.
Shanghai-based Greenland Group revealed its plans this week for Spire London, a 67-story project that will be the UK’s tallest residential tower when completed. In the same announcement the company, which is China’s second-largest developer by sales, revealed that units in the HOK-designed skyscraper will be officially launched in October.
Located in London’s Docklands near Canary Wharf, the 235 metre (771 foot) tall tower is planned to contain 765 luxury condominiums, with another 96 apartments set aside for affordable housing. Construction has already begun on the tower, which is scheduled to welcome residents in 2020.
Spire London is one of two London sites that Greenland acquired in early 2014, having announced its acquisition of the former Ram Brewery site from Commercial Estates Group in January, before finalising the Canary Wharf location in March.
Greenland Confident Despite Brexit Uncertainty
Canary Wharf, dubbed mini-Manhattan by some, transformed into London’s secondary business hub during the 1990s and is now home to a number of key financial players including Credit Suisse and J.P. Morgan. And while housing prices rose by 3.3 percent during the first quarter of this year, the area is facing an uncertain future in the aftermath of the Brexit.
“There will be a period of reassessment for the property market,” Sir George Iacobescu, chairman and chief executive officer of Canary Wharf Group, told the Financial Times. “The property market is a service and as a service it will have to follow what demand is on both the office and residential side. We will have to see over the next few months whether tenants and buyers want more or less space.”
Developers including Greenland are maintaining a positive outlook for the area with a number of luxury high-rises already under construction.
“We believe that there is always a demand for ‘best in class’ property assets that offer a high quality, bespoke, designed and unique product in a prime location,” Wenhao Qian, Managing Director of Greenland (UK) Investment said. “In our view, Spire London fulfills these criteria, and we believe there will be significant demand for the apartments within this tower from both the UK and overseas.”
Naomi Heaton, chief executive at London Central Portfolio, a locally-based fund manager, explained to the International Business Times that the concentration of luxury development activity in Tower Hamlets, the borough where Canary Wharf and the docklands are located, will take a heavy toll on these areas. That’s because there is already extensive oversupply here and the buying pool is shrinking due to more tax hikes.
Greenland Stakes Claim To Another Tallest Building Record
Greenland is no stranger when it comes to tall buildings with Spire London being the mainland developer’s latest potential record breaker. Both Wuhan Greenland Center and Dalian Greenland Center currently under construction in China and will be among the tallest skyscrapers in the world once completed.
In Australia, the developer is also overseeing the A$700 million ($501 million) Greenland Centre Sydney, but that project hit a snag in May when Greenland parted ways with local builder Brookfield Multiplex.