x Abu Dhabi, UAE Thursday 20 July 2017

Qatari Diar redevelops area around London's Shell Centre

Qatari Diar and UK listed Canary Wharf Group have unveiled plans to build 790 flats and 500,000 square feet of offices around London's iconic Shell Centre.

Qatari Diar, the investment arm of the Qatari government, and Canary Wharf Group have unveiled plans to build 790 flats and 500,000 square feet of offices around London's Shell Centre.

The partners are about to submit a planning application to London's Lambeth Council to redevelop more than five acres of land next to the London Eye as a mixed use scheme comprising 800,000 sq ft of homes in a bid to take advantage of spiralling house prices and a shortage of new office space in the capital.

The scheme, master planned by Squire & Partners, will also include 500,000 sq ft of offices and up to 80,000 sq ft of shops and cafes in eight new buildings around the existing 27-storey Shell Centre Tower.

The portland stone tower, upon which the New Year's Eve countdown clock is projected each year and which has stood next to the Thames for more than 50 years, will be retained by the Anglo-Dutch multinational oil and gas company for its own occupation together with a new 245,000 sq ft office block. Another 250,000 sq ft of offices will be marketed to other tenants.

In an announcement yesterday, the developers said the new flats would include affordable housing and homes for the elderly as well as some that could be rented out privately by the developers.

Squire & Partners designed Shell's new office tower and two of the blocks of flats. Individual architectural competitions were held to design the other buildings with winners including Stanton Williams, Grid Architects and Patel Taylor.

"Our aim is to enhance an area in need of a renaissance, with a new mixed use development of which London can be truly proud," said the Qatari Diar group chief executive Mohammed bin Ali Al Hedfa. "We are confident that our proposed development will put a reinvigorated South Bank at its rightful place, at the capital's heart."

In July last year, Qatari Diar and Canary Wharf, which is owned by UK-listed Songbird Estates, won a £300 million (Dh1.78billion) deal to redevelop the site..

lbarnard@thenational.ae