Royal Docks: London's new financial center is targeting Asian investors
ABP's Royal Albert Dock is a new commercial, retail and leisure district in East London offering unique opportunities to global businesses and overseas property buyers.
The transformation of London's historic Docklands continues with the multibillion-pound regeneration of the Royal Docks. Over the next five years, this 275-acre site on the banks of the River Thames will become a magnet for global businesses and creative entrepreneurs in East London as Chinese business park specialist ABP establishes a new financial district for the UK capital.
Following the phenomenal success of nearby Canary Wharf, the Royal Docks were established as London's only 'enterprise zone' in 2012, offering more favorable rates and relaxed regulations to attract businesses to invest in the up-and-coming area. Commercial and residential property prices are cheaper here than in areas closer to the city center, but these gaps will soon begin to narrow as developments complete and the new Crossrail Elizabeth Line brings Central London closer.
The first commercial properties at the Royal Docks are set to open in March 2019 and will be joined by a host of retail and leisure amenities, infrastructure improvements and brand new residential neighborhoods, creating a vibrant new district in London's creative East.
A third financial center
London's Docklands were once the home of the Honourable East India Company and the spice trade with Asia. Today, the regeneration of Docklands sites such as Canary Wharf and now the Royal Docks are reaffirming the area as a global destination for business in the 21st century, particularly with regard to helping European and Asian companies work together.
The main focus of the Royal Docks redevelopment is Royal Albert Dock, masterminded by China's ABP with the goal of establishing a third major business and financial district in London after the City of London and Canary Wharf. Named one of the most significant development projects in Europe, Royal Albert Dock will cost over £1.7 billion but is estimated to benefit the local economy by £6 billion, as well as creating approximately 30,000 new jobs.
The regeneration will add 3.3 million square feet of office space and 166,000 square feet of retail and leisure space around the two-kilometer waterfront, including bars, restaurants, cafes and a bustling high street and town square. The local area is already rich in existing attractions, from the Emirates Air Line cable car over the River Thames to world-class shopping and dining at nearby Canary Wharf and major events at the O2 and ExCeL London.
The Royal Docks are already well connected to the rest of the capital by the Docklands Light Railway (DLR), scenic river taxis and road links, but the impending arrival of the high-speed Crossrail Elizabeth Line will bring Central London even closer. Arriving at Custom House station in 2019, journey times will be reduced to just 15 minutes to Tottenham Court Road, 17 minutes to Bond Street and less than 45 minutes to Heathrow Airport.
For international connections, the area is served by its own local airport. London City Airport is just three miles from the Royal Docks and is embarking on a £200 million expansion to increase its annual flights from 70,000 to 111,000 flights by 2023.
With 30,000 new jobs and more affordable property prices than Central London – estimated to rise considerably one the new developments are complete – the Royal Docks are appealing to residents and landlords as well as businesses. Royal Albert Dock itself will include over 935,000 square feet of residential space among the offices, while other parts of the Royal Docks are being developed into villages to offer relaxed waterfront living and a sense of community for residents.
These include Royal Albert Wharf, a collection of 127 homes and local amenities just minutes from Royal Albert Dock and the Crossrail station. Scheduled for completion in early to mid-2020, a number of one, two and three-bedroom apartments are already available at the Gallions Point development at Royal Albert Wharf, with prices starting from £365,000.