HK buyers get chance to trump rivals

PUBLISHED : Friday, 23 October, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 23 October, 2009, 12:00am

Thanks to the global downturn and a weaker pound, foreign investors have an edge over British buyers in terms of purchasing power.

The pound has depreciated markedly against the Hong Kong dollar since October 2007. Accordingly, local buyers investing in British property will now see their money go further - affording them an advantage over home-based purchasers.

In conjunction with sales agents King Sturge, British developer Berkeley Homes starts its premier international launch of The Warehouse No1 Street - the latest phase of its renowned Royal Arsenal Riverside development in London - with a sales exhibition at the Landmark Mandarin Oriental Hotel today. The event runs each day until Sunday from 11am to 7pm.

Despite the past year's economic crisis, Berkeley Homes has remained proactive in bringing new properties to market in the capital.

Royal Arsenal Riverside is in the London borough of Greenwich on 76 acres of prime mixed-use land on the banks of the River Thames. Residents enjoy riverside living at a fraction of prices further west.

The site has an impressive array of listed historical buildings, which have been seamlessly converted alongside contemporary architecture, modern infrastructure and a myriad of amenities.

According to Paul Vallone, managing director of Berkeley Homes (Urban Renaissance), what makes the development different from off-plan projects is that it is not entirely off plan. 'Some buildings have been completed, so there are facilities there - people are buying into a proven formula, not just a promise of what will be,' he said.

With 1,250 homes already occupied, the development has amenities including a 24-hour concierge, residents-only gym, delicatessen (the Couture Food Hall), Streetcar Car Share Club, Greenwich Heritage Centre, the Firepower Museum and Wellington Park. A Young's gastro pub is scheduled to open soon, as well as an Express by Holiday Inn Hotel.

Living in southeast London's most connected riverside development also affords residents speedy commutes into central London, the City and Docklands.

Berkeley bought the plot in 2000 because of its proximity to multiple public transport options, including the main line train station and the newly opened Docklands Light Railway station, just 300 metres from the site. By light railway, London City Airport is a mere six-minute journey away.

Trains to the City are also swift. Rides to London Bridge and the West End are as brief as 20 and 30 minutes respectively. Connectivity will be improved with the opening of a station on the Crossrail line at the development itself in 2017.

'It's the biggest infrastructure project London has undertaken in the past 15 years and will bring superb connectivity to the City and Canary Wharf - the key financial districts,' Vallone said.

Canary Wharf is now accessible in 29 minutes via the Thames Clipper river boat from the on-site Woolwich Arsenal Pier or in just 20 minutes on the light rail.

The Warehouse is centrally located within the development's cobbled pedestrian route No1 Street. The seven-storey building will have a classic brick facade.

Flats at The Warehouse benefit from a spacious landscaped internal courtyard and balconies with private outside space - many of which have splendid river views. The building also has an underground car park.

Offering a stylish industrial feel with the convenience and comfort of a newly built property, The Warehouse offers the best of both worlds, according to Vallone. 'It has a fa?ade in keeping with the existing on-site refurbished buildings, and it also offers a crisp, fresh, optimised design with contemporary interiors and all the benefits of a newbuild,' he said.

Apart from The Warehouse's rustic chic charm, its apartments are spacious, with 300 units envisioned.

Contemporary design, stylish interiors and open-plan design in the living and dining areas make The Warehouse the retreat for urban hipsters. Warehouse-style apartments range from 341 to 954 sqft - each with a private balcony or terrace.

Apartments boast touches of exposed brick detailing in the living room. Kitchens come equipped with top-tier appliances, including ovens, extractor hoods, fridge- freezers and dishwashers.

All bathrooms and en suites have chrome ladder-style heated towel rails. Access to all apartments is via an audio-visual entry system, ensuring ample security.

Sustainability is key to Berkeley's commitments, with all flats built to save water and electricity - including energy-efficient light fittings and electrical goods, dual-flush toilets, flow-regulating showers and water-efficient dishwashers.

Choices range from studio suites to one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments, with completions anticipated from summer 2011. Suites and apartments at The Warehouse are available from GBP139,950 (HK$1.77 million).