Pursuitist loves to keep up with luxury trends around the globe, and one of our favorite areas to explore is the ever changing market of real estate and luxury developments. London is of particular interest, as the city has seen a strong influx of high-end buyers from around the globe in recent years. To learn more about market trends, as well as one of the highest-profile new developments in the area, Centre Point, we spoke with Mike Hussey, Chief Executive of luxury development group Almacantar, in this exclusive Pursuitist Q&A. Hussey gave us trend insights, as well as a first look at this exciting new development, which boasts a £55 million penthouse unit!
Who do you anticipate living in Centre Point? What makes this development unique?
There isn’t a ‘typical’ buyer. We’ve had a range of ages, nationalities and professions interested in living at Centre Point. The common reason is that they love the building, the views and the location.
Centre Point offers a rare opportunity to own and invest in a residential building unlike any other, located in the cultural centre of London, the West End, which is currently undergoing a complete transformation with the addition of the new Crossrail station and a newly developed pedestrian square lined with shops and restaurants. Centre Point is one of London’s original skyscrapers and was built at a time when London was transforming itself from a gloomy post-war capital into a fashionable, exciting and vibrant city. Centre Point captured the adventurous spirit of the swinging sixties – an era of innovation, individualism, collaboration and aspiration. Recognised for its “architectural innovation,” Centre Point was given Grade II listed status in 1995. With its prominent place on London’s skyline and distinct design which includes 3-metre-high neon Centre Point letters at the top of the 34-story building, Centre Point quickly became a London landmark and acts as a navigational tool for visitors to the city.
Centre Point will offer 82 apartments, ranging from 1-bedroom apartment to a 5-bedroom duplex penthouse.
What’s so special about this location?
Centre Point is a hub between Covent Garden; Soho and the prime shopping area of Oxford Street. It will have access to the Elizabeth Line, which is one of the most ambitious and complex infrastructure programmes ever undertaken in the UK.
What makes London such an attractive market for buyers now?
The city’s geographical position, language, culture, skilled workforce, quality of life, legal systems and healthcare and education programmes make it a great place to live and work. London is a cosmopolitan city that has everything in one place – financial and insurance services, advisory services, technology and creative industries, government, research centres and top educational institutions.
The penthouse in this building is quite an investment at £55 million. Who do you expect to purchase this penthouse, and what makes it so unique?
The £55 million duplex penthouse is the crown jewel of the building. It offers two floors of living space connected by a curved stairwell, a panoramic terrace, and 360 degree views of London’s West End. It will be acquired by an aficionado of good taste that recognises that there is nothing else like it in London.
What are the main requests you’re seeing now from buyers in this luxury market?
Location and quality remain the most important aspect in super-prime residential and drive Almacantar’s investment strategy. Centre Point and Marble Arch Place are the best examples of this.
How are you mixing the historic nature of the building with the modern amenities luxury buyers are seeking?
Each Almacantar project is unique so we adapt our approach accordingly. For Centre Point we appointed Conran & Partners to work on the apartments. The renowned British designers designed the apartments by combining the spirit of the building, the energy of the 1960s and the equally vibrant and creative spirit of London today. Luxurious materials, and the best in British craftsmanship and design, will underpin the quality of the apartments. Residents at Centre Point will have access to exclusive amenities including residents lounge and screening room, a gym, a full-service spa and treatment rooms, a swimming pool, meeting and boardrooms, 24-hour concierge, and 24-hour security. Additionally, we’ve collaborated with renowned artists Cerith Wynn Evans and Richard Wentworth to install bespoke art pieces throughout the building.
What impact, if any, will Brexit have on the real estate market in London?
London will continue to thrive after the UK leaves the European Union simply because it trades with the whole world. The issues are largely political. Business and people have a desire to continue to expand and grow, an opportunity that London presents to all. In property terms, access to the market requires skill and vision but the best investments are immune to much of the geo-political volatility generated elsewhere in the world.
What’s next on the horizon for Almacantar?
Almacantar’s portfolio includes: Centre Point, Marble Arch Place, CAA House, One and Two Southbank Place, Lyons Place and 125 Shaftesbury Avenue. Centre Point will be the first of Almacantar’s portfolio to debut in the fall of 2017, followed by commercial spaces at One and Two Southbank in 2018, mixed-use retail and housing at Lyons Place in 2019, and ultra-luxury offices and apartments at Marble Arch Place in 2020.