'Hated' tower to be transformed into new rental homes after £6m deal
Published by Max Salsbury for 24dash.com in Housing and also in Development
One of London's 'most hated' towers is to be transformed from office space into residential accommodation for rent.
Essential Living has acquired the leasehold to the 16-storey Archway Tower for £6 million from Valad Property Group.
The transformation is part of Essential Living's plan to design, build and manage 5,000 homes for rent, backed by $200m of equity from M3 Capital Partners, who manage US institutional funds.
The aim is to replicate the multi-family lettings sector in the US through buying up land to develop rental homes.
Essential Living will then directly manage the homes over the long term, with benefits including longer tenancies, an array of communal services and professional, round the clock onsite service.
Archway is Essential Living’s fourth acquisition following recent deals in Swiss Cottage and Bethnal Green, east London. It has a pipeline of around 1,000 homes.
The 80,000sqft office block was completed in 1963 above Archway Tube station. It was used by the Department for Social Security during the 1980s, but fell vacant in 2012 after the Office of the Public Guardian was relocated to Birmingham.
To some, the 195ft tower and maze-like gyratory system it overlooks has come to symbolise the neglect that has befallen Archway, which sits next to trendy Highgate and leafy Hampstead to the north of Camden.
English Heritage had added the tower to its list of buildings to be demolished, but council feasibility studies put the cost of doing so at £15-20m, in addition to the huge disruption it would cause.
Essential Living’s redevelopment will create over 100 new homes to rent inside the tower.
Scott Hammond, executive director at Essential Living, said: “With ownership properties out of reach for most Londoners, there’s a huge need for professionally managed rented homes perfectly positioned above key transport links. We are looking to draw on the experiences and successes gained from the American rental model which designs homes specifically for rent and is far more workable than buying up existing homes that developers haven’t been able to sell.
“We are determined to offer renters the quality and service currently missing from the fragmented private rented sector which are largely owned by individual landlords.
“Archway deserves regeneration and we believe our investment will be the catalyst to further gentrification in this important North London community."