December 12 2013 Latest news:
Rachael Getzels, Reporter
Friday, December 7, 2012
Developers who have bought the Ham&High office building in Swiss Cottage have allayed fears that a 16-storey tower will be built on the site.
When the building in Avenue Road went on the market in August, Savills advertised it for sale with plans to construct a tall glass tower in place of the existing office block.
Nick Cuff, development manager of Essential Land, which has bought the building, insisted: “We won’t be following those plans.
“We’ll have our own architect and develop something people will like the look of in the local area.”
Mr Cuff added that they plan to include a combination of offices, retail space and flats to rent.
“We think there’s a shortage in London of buildings rented professionally,” said Mr Cuff. “Whereas other people buy a site and then sell it, we’ll be holding on to the building. It means it has to look as good in 15 years as it does now.
“We will be looking forward and thinking about what environmental standards will be in 15 years.
“Because we’re going to be holding the building, we’re going to be in the community for a long time, so we have a vested interest in what people in the area think.”
When the building was put up for sale in August, Savills received offers of more than £30million.
Essential Land now plan to demolish the existing six-storey block – which is currently occupied by the Ham&High, Reuters News Agency, Mia shisha bar and Me Love Sushi – in two years’ time.
Essential Land was set up in 2009 and has previously built a development of homes in a West Greenwich conservation area, a collection of three- bedroom homes in Lewisham and is working with another company on plans to turn an Islington car park into a housing mews.
Mr Cuff said that over the next two years years the company will undertake “an extensive community consultation exercise,” promising that residents will be asked for their views on what the new Avenue Road building should look like.
If the plan is agreed the existing building would be demolished at the end of the two-year period and work on the new building would commence.
Speaking of the hurdles new developments often face in residential areas, Mr Cuff said: “We think a slow approach is best so that we can try to work as much as possible with the residents, which may help us get over the challenges. We want to take all opinions into account.
“We’re different because we’re looking at the long-term. Of course there will be problems and not everyone will agree, but we hope that, if the community is consulted, and we consider people’s comments, that will stand us in good stead.”
Essential Land has said that it will offer the Ham&High the option of space in the new building if offices are included in the final plans.