Did you know that there's a £1.3bn redevelopment taking place behind the London Eye? Construction work on the old Shell Centre site began in earnest this week, to eventually bring 800 new homes, offices, shops and dining spots.
Plans to redevelop the Shell Centre prompted many column inches when first proposed, thanks to the blocky, high-density designs in such a high-profile area. Simon Jenkins — ever the critic of anything over three storeys — described the scheme as 'a visual wall of towers on a truly Stalinist scale'. The fight to overturn the scheme was dubbed the Battle of Waterloo.
The plans were finally approved last year, and demolition around the main tower has been ongoing. Now, the foundation works are underway on a development that will be known, with irritating predictability, as Southbank Place.
The development will include seven new blocks clustered around the existing Shell Tower (from 1961), which will be refurbished. Lest we think the whole shebang is just another investment opportunity for the rich and privileged, the scheme will also include a new 'public' square and walkways plus plenty of cafes and the like. The complex will also include 98 affordable homes, with another 70 built off-site on Lollard Street.
Completion of the scheme, a joint venture between Canary Wharf Group and Qatari Diar Real Estate Investment Company, is due for 2019.