Stylish apartments in New Festival Quarter, a prestigious 'urban village' in London E14, will offer a great balance of city living and domestic comfort, with all the amenities expected of a top-quality development. 'Two blocks, known as Factum and Skylon, are being offered as a first priority release to Hong Kong-based purchasers,' says Max Wilkinson, director for Jones Lang LaSalle, which is responsible for marketing the project. 'The area of Stratford, which is just to the north of Canary Wharf, has become a fashionable residential district. New Festival Quarter sits at the heart of a tree-lined conservation area and includes iconic new buildings, as well as generous public and private spaces.' A number of neighbouring developments have proved extremely popular, with buyers already seeing strong rental demand and good prospects for appreciating returns. A key factor is the proximity of Stratford's Olympic Park, which will be the centre of the London Olympics next year and which has inspired significant investment in improved transport links and major regeneration schemes. Each low-rise block will offer studio and one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments, plus chic penthouses. Every unit in the first phase will have a balcony or terrace, and a number of apartments will also enjoy stunning cityscape views south to the towers of Canary Wharf or west towards landmarks such as the dome of St Paul's Cathedral. Lead developer Bellway reports that work is well on track to meet the mid-2012 target completion date for the first block. As one of the bigger residential projects in the area, New Festival Quarter will ultimately have a total of 490 apartments. This size will create its own sense of community and make it possible to offer the full range of facilities and services that international buyers expect. 'Things like eco-credentials and careful landscaping are woven into the fabric, so the development feels fresh and contemporary, yet is still unmistakably part of a unique, historic city,' Wilkinson says. The architects' brief was to create a new landmark, while retaining something of the spirit of [George] Lansbury's 'Festival of Britain' style of design. Therefore, the height and external finish of the various blocks complement the immediate surroundings, and tranquil, traffic-free garden areas afford the chance to relax outdoors. For the interior designs, style and function combine to provide comfort, convenience and a free-flowing use of space. Well-equipped kitchens come with integrated appliances that make cooking and entertaining a pleasure, not a chore. The specifications include square-edged worktops, stainless steel sink, a Zanussi electric fan oven with a ceramic hob, and a free-standing washer and dryer. The bathrooms and en-suite facilities from master bedrooms will be fitted with white sanitary ware, semi-pedestal basins, rectangular shower trays and half-height tiling around the bath. Other notable features will include laminate wood flooring in the living room, kitchen, dining room and hallway. A video entry system and doors with multipoint locking will offer security. A 24-hour on-site concierge service and secure parking are also available. And to provide the kind of connectivity that is so important in today's world, each apartment will have multiple telephone points, and TV outlets in both the living room and main bedroom. 'Facilities also include the convenience of a private residents' gymnasium,' Wilkinson says. 'And impressive art installations are being planned around the development and in nearby Church Green.' Reflecting the need for continuous efforts to save resources consumption and protect the environment, the developer has a comprehensive sustainability programme in place. It involves systematic measures to reduce power and water usage with energy-efficient fittings and recycling initiatives. 'Property close to Canary Wharf has always been hugely popular with the Asian market, as the working population provides a large pool of potential tenants,' Wilkinson says. 'The upcoming Olympic Games is providing a huge extra stimulus to the local economy, so we are expecting to see gross rental returns in excess of 7 per cent on some of the units in the scheme.' An exhibition to provide further information and answer questions will take place in Hong Kong on September 3 and 4 at the Grand Hyatt, Salon room IV.