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Developers cashing in on growing demand for roof gardens

Voice Of EU

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Lockdowns aren’t easy for anyone, but for those one in eight UK households who have no access to a shared or private garden, they’ve been near impossible.

The good news is that a growing number of developers have found a solution to the problem: roof gardens.

‘I think it should be made a planning condition that roofs are utilised as a green space,’ says the award-winning garden designer Manoj Malde, (manojmaldegardendesign.co.uk).

High life: Roof gardens have become ever more popular during the pandemic

High life: Roof gardens have become ever more popular during the pandemic

‘Roof gardens can be incredibly beautiful; the air seems fresher up there, transporting you to another world.’

Pocket Living, a developer specialising in selling affordable one-bedroom homes to first-time buyers, believes that access to a garden benefits its residents’ mental health. Although its apartments measure only 38 sq metres inside their sites, all offer some shared outside space.

‘My roof garden definitely helped me get through the lockdown,’ says IT sales executive Lucy Wright, 30, who has lived in Pocket Living’s Wandsworth development for two years.

‘Like millions of others, I have been working from home for most of the year and after a day in front of my computer screen it was great to get out on the roof and meet others over a glass of wine at a social distance.’

Pocket Living is selling off-plan in Harbard Close, Barking (prices from £194,000 to £210,000) and Addiscombe Grove, Croydon (from £260,000 to £296,000, pocketliving.com).

It’s not only in overcrowded London that you find new roof gardens being built. In the heart of Maidenhead in Berkshire, the Waterside Quarter, due to be finished this month, is a development of one to three-bedroom apartments with a roof garden of astro turf and planters. Prices start at £315,000 (shanlyhomes.com).

On the market… with terraces 

In King Street, central Manchester, boards have been laid on the roof garden for the conversion of four townhouses from £574,000 (oxygenmanchester.com).

Cutting-edge though the best of today’s roof gardens may be, they became particularly fashionable in the early 20th century. ‘Selfridges were early pioneers, with a roof-top garden built in 1921,’ says Sean McEntee, an expert with Savills planning. ‘Kensington Roof Gardens, built in 1938, are grade II-listed.’

Today, roof gardens can vary in quality from a few plant pots and a deck chair above a shop in a run-down part of town to extravagant oases overlooking the kind of streets where only the mega-rich can afford to live.

A six-bedroom property in the heart of Kensington is for sale for £24 million (knightfrank.com). Apart from offering leisure facilities indoors — cinema, bar, swimming pool and gym — the landscaped astro turf roof garden has seating set around an ornate fireplace, surrounded by hedging. But what is the attraction of a roof garden to the ultra wealthy?

‘They provide greater privacy and security,’ says Fran Moynihan of Savills (savills.com). ‘Even in a densely populated area they are unlikely to be overlooked.’

Although roof gardens undoubtedly add value to a property, they need a good deal of planning. Manoj Malde advises to check that the construction of the roof is strong enough for load bearing.

D rainage is an issue, as you don’t want the roof leaking into the rooms below. If your neighbours also have a roof garden, then you may want screening for privacy. Safety is paramount, so make sure there is a barrier to stop people, plant pots or garden furniture from falling over the edge. The choice of plants, too, is a complex subject.

‘If it is cold at ground level, it’s going to be freezing on the roof,’ says Malde. ‘If it is hot on the ground, it’s going to be scorching on the roof. These conditions cause evaporation in plants, so you must choose the right plants. Consider coastal and Mediterranean plants, as these are able to survive drying conditions.’

Maggie Hall had to address all these problems when she built a bijou roof garden, above her four-storey townhouse in the fashionable Spice Island district of Old Portsmouth, 20 years ago. Being within yards of the waterfront, the roof garden catches the full force of the weather from the English Channel.

‘We decked it, put up railings and laid out pots and hanging baskets that we could take in quickly if the weather turned nasty,’ says Maggie, 56, who is selling the house for £780,000 (fryandkent.com). ‘The views over the Spinnaker Tower and Portsmouth Harbour are fantastic.’

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IHG to open new hotel in Brussels (BE)

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IHG Hotels & Resorts (IHG) announced the signing of voco Brussels City North, marking entry into a new market. Due to open in autumn 2023, the 92-key voco Brussels City North property will be operated by Prem Group, a strong partner for IHG in the region. The state-of-the-art hotel will feature a restaurant and conference centre and will adjoin the Innovation Centre, which is already open on the site, to create a hub for hospitality innovation and a truly stimulating environment.

 

Located to the north of the city, the hotel will feature a striking 50-metre tower with huge glass windows providing panoramic views of the Brussels skyline. The site itself will be Europe’s largest experimental lab for creating ideas and a vision for the future. In line with voco hotels ethos, voco Brussels City North will stand out from the crowd and give guests a different choice.

 

Willemijn Geels, VP Development Europe, IHG Hotels & Resorts, said: “I’m delighted to announce that we are partnering with Living Tomorrow to bring voco hotels to Belgium. We know that Brussels is a strong market for branded properties, and we are confident that the voco hotels’ brand will fit well with the goal of creating a truly innovative hub on this unique site.”

 

Yin Oei, CEO, Living Tomorrow, said: “Living Tomorrow is focused on driving the future and we’re excited to partner with IHG to develop this exciting hotel – the first voco in Belgium. The values of voco hotels fit well with our desire to innovate and push boundaries and we know that the strength of the IHG systems will provide a stable platform from which to innovate.”

 

 

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Mitheridge and London Green unveil plans for Lambeth mix-use scheme (GB)

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Mitheridge Capital Management and London Green have unveiled plans for a residential-led, mixed-use development in Lambeth, south London. The project will make use of a former industrial site in Loughborough Junction, Lambeth, while also protecting the adjacent intersecting Victorian railway viaducts which remain a rich heritage asset.

 

Managing Partner of Mitheridge William Yerburgh said: “London desperately needs more homes. We believe strongly in an approach to housing provision that is affordable but also enhances the character and vibrancy of local communities. Our partnership with London Green will show that new housing provision can deliver for everyone.”

 

Daniel Rastegar, Investment Director at Mitheridge commented: “We are excited to work with London Green to deliver a scheme that will contribute positively to this area of Lambeth, both by providing highly sustainable, high-quality homes as well as new industrial space for SMEs.”

 

Harry Green, Director at London Green added: “This represents yet another opportunity to develop an underutilised site into a mixed community of sustainable homes and workplaces. We look forward to working with best-in-class consultants and contractors to deliver the vision that we share with Mitheridge Capital Management”.

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IIProp grows its presence in Spain

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IIProp (International Industrial Properties) has successfully delivered the initial phase of its built-to-suit project in the Spanish city of Murcia. The joint venture has also launched a new development project at a prime location in Nadarzyn, Warsaw South, Poland. The scheme is located in Murcia’s San Andres industrial park and offers 22,346m². The project is set to add another building of over 23,000m², bringing the total development area to 46,600m² GLA. Construction of a 23,000m² follow-on component is under way and scheduled for completion in January 2023. The project marks an important milestone for the IIProp’s expansion in Spain, where the platform has secured pipeline for development of some 63,000m² GLA in the Murcia and Barcelona regions. The development comes with excellent connectivity and visibility as it sits alongside the A7 highway, part of the Mediterranean transit corridor that links Spanish and Portuguese ports with mainland Europe. The project is set to obtain “Very Good” BREEAM certificate, which will be supported by green solutions such as solar panels, charging stations for electric cars, power sockets for electric bicycles and scooters as well as bicycle parking space and a bee shelter.

 

Nebil Senman, Managing Partner at Griffin Capital Partners, said: “The logistics market in Europe experienced an unprecedented growth during the pandemic and despite the geopolitical turmoil the tenant demand remains strong. We selectively are developing projects in Murcia and Warsaw with highest ESG standards and securing highest tenant covenants to fulfill core investor’s requirements. We plan to continue to build up carefully our European logistics footprint by selectively adding projects in core European markets as well as through converting our well-positioned land bank into standing assets.”

 

Maciej Dyjas, Managing Partner at Griffin Capital Partners, commented: “The projects in Murcia and Warsaw are another success stories in our strategic partnership with Panattoni. We continue to screen new European markets for entry and already begun working on potential development projects in countries like France, Italy, and Austria. In parallel, the IIProp’s pipeline stands at ca. 430,000m² GLA, despite latest disposals completed in Germany.

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