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Carlyle wants to build new urban quarter on the Thames

29 Oct 12 Plans for nine new buildings of between five and 48 storeys on the south side of the Thames in London are to be put before city planners as part of a huge urban development proposal.

Investment firm The Carlyle Group has come up with a 1.4 million sq ft development proposal between the South Bank and Bankside in Southwark, alongside Blackfriars bridge. The development would provide 492 new homes and enough office space to almost double the number of permanent jobs in the area to more than 3,700, it is claimed.

Additionally, more than 750 construction jobs would be created during the construction phase.

No firm estimates for construction costs have been given yet but it is being talked of as a billion-pound development. 

The site has been identified as an ‘opportunity area’ in the Mayor of London’s London Plan. Carlyle’s proposals for a new urban quarter have been developed by PLP Architecture. It will open up the arches under the railway viaduct to create pedestrian access and additional cultural, retail and restaurant space. The plan is to create new open space and link the nearby South Bank cultural facilities with the Tate Modern and Borough Market.

The development will comprise 1,400,000 sq ft of total floorspace, including 940,000 sq ft of residential, 450,000 sq ft of new offices, 25,000 sq ft of retail and 18,500 sq ft of cultural space, including a cultural pavilion on the river’s edge.

Three of the new buildings will be on the western side of the site, where the current Ludgate House office stands, with the remaining six constructed on the eastern location where the Sampson House block currently stands. Residential buildings will be positioned towards the north end of the site to capitalise on the riverside location and views of London, while office buildings will be on the southern edge.

At 48 storeys the tallest tower will stand opposite the proposed One Blackfriars development to form a new ‘gateway’, on the south side of Blackfriars Bridge, connecting the City and Southwark.

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The project would re-open parts of the Upper Ground thoroughfare for the first time in 150 years and create stronger pedestrian links between Bankside and the Tate Modern and the rest of the South Bank’s Cultural Quarter, it is claimed.

The application follows extensive liaison with the London Borough of Southwark’s planning officers, the Greater London Authority, local councillors and politicians, residents’ organisations, neighbouring boroughs and other interested bodies. Two public consultations took place, as well as an online consultation which, in aggregate showed that almost 90% of respondents welcome a redevelopment of the site.

Carlyle proposes delivering the project in multiple phases which are dictated by both existing lease structures (Ludgate House in Q2 2015 and Sampson House in Q2 2018) and the desire to minimise the impact of the works on the local community. It is anticipated that works will completed between mid-2020 and early 2023.

Carlyle managing director Mark Harris said: “This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to truly regenerate and reinvigorate a large, important and extremely well located, but underutilised, site right on the River Thames. Our aim is to create a new and vibrant destination area through a phased, deliverable regeneration project that will deliver many new, and much needed, homes for London’s workforce, and bring thousands of jobs to the area. Carlyle is known internationally for its ability to deliver successful and high quality schemes, and is ideally placed to undertake the redevelopment in consultation with local stakeholders.

“We plan to replace the existing impermeable block structures with a new, highly accessible urban quarter complete with new residential, retail and office facilities, as well as cultural centres and large new public spaces right on the riverbank. We are also very excited by the prospect of reopening east-west access by reinstating historic walkways, while at the same time helping to create a landmark physical gateway into Southwark.”

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