East Meets East at Royal Albert Dock
ABP signals its confidence in London with the city’s latest mega-development in its most vibrant regeneration zone.
For most of its 130-year history, the Royal Albert Dock was a hub of trade and industry, a vital cog in the wheel that guided London through the industrial revolution and into its place as an international business centre. Located just over three kilometres from Canary Wharf and 300 meters across the water from London City Airport, it is now home to one of the city’s largest and most ambitious regeneration projects: ABP Royal Albert Dock.
When completed in 2026, the innovative ABP Royal Albert Dock will feature 4.7 million square feet of office, retail and leisure space, as well as apartments and serviced apartments, spanning 35 buildings and 14 hectares on London’s burgeoning east side. “It is a little unusual. It’s pioneering. No one’s done it,” says John Miu, COO of ABP London. “We did have to explain it to all levels of society — our stakeholders, partners, and residents. But London is secretly screaming for something like this, which traditional commercial development hasn’t allowed for yet. And I think London is ready.”
London may be ready, and it would appear the world is too. Despite the uncertainties swirling around the UK’s departure from the European Union, investment in London — as well as the UK’s second tier locations — continues, in part due to a favourable exchange rate on sterling. The unflagging confidence in London recalls its property market performance following the 2008 GFC. When values in Manchester and Birmingham fell upwards of 60%, London held firm. “That’s a good indicator of how London is able to deal with crisis,” says Miu, who expects the city to respond to Brexit in a similar fashion. According to CBRE, over 60% of total inbound investment into London in the third quarter of 2017 came from Asia, equivalent to all foreign investment into the city in the months following 2016’s Brexit referendum — a marginal increase from prior to it. Data from Cushman & Wakefield indicates Hong Kong (CC Land), China (China Resources) and Singapore (Ho Bee Land) investors alone poured over £4 billion into central London in the first half of 2017 representing nearly 50% of all commercial property — a five year high.
ABP Royal Albert Dock sits at the heart of East London’s £26 billion transformation, one that will attract more young professionals to the emerging district. Designed with an eye towards Asian businesses taking their first steps into UK and European markets, London’s third business hub will also boast the leisure, culture, and 24-hour lifestyle elements that are in the DNA of projects like it. Notably, ABP is creating the kind of industry cluster that has made London a business powerhouse — but with more unique characteristics on offer. “If you look at the history of London, starting with the City of London, it’s UK and European businesses clustered together in order to interact with each other. When Canary Wharf opened, it gave the UK a way to interact with North America; it became a gateway,” states Miu. “Now with the emergence of Asia, and with London’s global and European importance, there needs to be a gateway between London and the East.”
In creating a platform for Asian businesses to go global — Chinese expansion is exempted from currency controls — and a space for seamless entry into new markets, incoming firms will be able to take advantage of skilled workers, and operate at costs as much as 50% lower than those in Canary Wharf, Stratford and The City while being connected to them. Nearby DLR stations and a forthcoming Crossrail station put London and the UK on the doorstep, and London’s true business gateway, City Airport, does the same for Europe and North America.
“Our success came through hard work. If we can do, and come to understand the market, so can they,” finishes Miu, pointing out ABP’s readiness to assist incoming enterprises with integration. “We’re not just providing a platform, but also telling business how we did it. Getting into a new market is always a challenge, but it can be done. Europe is waiting.”
For more details on ABP Royal Albert Dock’s 650,000-square foot Phase 1, refer to ewbusinessheart.london, call the Hong Kong sales office on +852 2660 6808, or forward email requests to [email protected]