It's been known for some time that London Underground plans to convert 55 Broadway, its historic headquarters above St James's Park tube station, into new homes. A few more details were released today, most notably that 22% of the new homes will be designated 'affordable' or for social rent (including several three-bedroom flats for families).
55 Broadway is a Grade I listed property on top of a tube station and next to one of the most famous parks in the world, with views like this:
So it's both surprising and encouraging that London Underground is devoting a relatively high proportion of flats to those without six figure salaries.
However, the proportion falls some way short of Westminster Council's target of 30% affordable/social for new residential developments. It should be noted, though, that the target is intended as a borough-wide average, allowing some developments to fall short, so long as others elsewhere make it up.
The distinctive building dates from the late 1920s and was designed by Charles Holden, also responsible for many of the classic modernist tube stations. Controversial at the time, partly due to the explicit sculptures carved around the sides, it has been the home of London Underground for nearly nine decades, but its lack of suitability for modern office needs, alongside Transport for London’s chronic cash shortage, has persuaded London Underground to offer it up for residential space.
The scheme will also open up an old entrance towards Victoria Street, crowd in more retail units, and include landscaping improvements to the areas around the building.
Money generated from the redevelopment will be ploughed back into Transport for London's coffers. According to Graeme Craig, Director of Commercial Development at TfL, this will "help make journeys better for everyone who uses public transport and the road network, bear down on the fares and charges people are asked to pay, and support economic prosperity in London and the UK". It is part of a wider programme from which the transport organisation hopes to raise £3.5 billion from non-fare revenue.
An exhibition of the proposals, drawn up by architects TateHindle, will open to the public from Tuesday 16 September to Friday 19 September from 11.30am-7pm in retail units 14-17 inside St James’s Park station.
Main image courtesy of TfL. Secondary image by M@.