The Billion-Pound Building Boom That Could Transform Oxford Street


the billion pound building1

Nine new residential developments are changing the face of Europe’s busiest shopping street.

Aston Chase, Galliard

In Pictures, Property Developer News, Property Market News

It may be internationally-famous for slow-walking tourists, traffic congestion and mass- market retail, but nine new prime residential developments are set to change the 1.2 mile face of Oxford Street, according to marketeers.

An ongoing c.£1.06bn (GDV) building boom on or adjacent to Europe’s busiest shopping street is on the way to delivering 437 new homes alongside 85,000 square foot of new retail and 365,000 sq ft of office space.

Oxford Street’s resi reinvention started five years ago, says estate agency Aston Chase, when boutique developer Oakmayne Bespoke launched Verge Mayfair in 2012. This created 12 apartments, priced from £950,000. Then, in 2013, Almacantar announced its £400m, 17- storey Marble Arch Place project on Bryanston Street, followed by its £350m reinvention of the 33-storey Centrepoint tower in 2015. Galliard’s TCRW Soho is the latest addition, announced at the end of 2019.

Oxford Street’s nine key new residential-led projects are:

  • Centrepoint
    Almacantar; 82 apartments and 39,000 sq ft of retail space
  • Marble Arch Place
    Almacantar; 54 apartments, 36,000 sq ft of retail space and 123,000 sq ft of offices
  • 37 Rathbone Place
    Great Portland Estates; 140 apartments and 242,800 sq ft of office space
  • 5-6 Hanway Place
    Galliard; 18 apartments
  • Hanway Gardens
    Galliard; 18 apartments
  • TCRW SOHO (Tottenham Court Road West Soho)
    Galliard; 92 apartments and 9,939 sq ft of retail space 5
  • Berners Street
    Princeton Property Partners; 6 apartments
  • 103-109 Wardour Street
    Legal & General; 15 apartments and a health club/gym
  • Verge Mayfair
    Oakmayne Bespoke; 12 apartments

Many of these represent high-profile commercial-to-residential transformations. 37 Rathbone Place was formerly a Post Office Sorting Complex, Wardour Street was once the Pathe Film HQ, and Centrepoint and Verge Mayfair both used to be office buildings.

A mix of boutique and corporate developers are getting involved, including Galliard Homes, Almacantar, Great Portland Estates, Oakmayne Bespoke, Frogmore and Princeton Property Partners.

New homes on Oxford Street are typically priced between £950,000 and £4.5m, says Aston Chase (which is marketing TCRW for Galliard); per square foot prices rise to £5,000, although the £2,000-£2,500 is more in-demand. That’s “relatively underpriced compared to neighbouring Mayfair and Marylebone,” says Galliard’s Sales Director David Galman.

Oxford Street “will become one of Prime Central London’s most sought-after residential addresses” over the next five years
Galliard & Aston Chase

All the recent and ongoing activity means that Oxford Street “will become one of Prime Central London’s most sought-after residential addresses” over the next five years, predict Aston Chase and Galliard.

Oxford Street is currently home to 248 shops (including 14 vacant), attract around half a million visitors every day.

Alongside high-spec new resi supply, the firm flags pedestrianisation, Crossrail and electric vehicles as the three major “game changers” for Oxford Street; these should make the West End “a cleaner, much less congested and quieter place to live.”

High-profile plans to completely pedestrianise the thoroughfare were binned by Westminster Council in 2018, but the area is still in line for a £150m council-led revamp and additional traffic restrictions.

Oxford Street was originally built by the Romans; then known as Via Trinobantina, it served as an open-air market for everything from food and fabrics to money lending. In the 12th century, it was called Tyburn Road, becoming notorious as the route taken by prisoners from Newgate Prison to the Tyburn gallows by Marble Arch.

In 1729, the route was renamed “Oxford Street” by Edward Harley, the 2nd Earl of Oxford. The next 50 years saw the road turned into a posh residential address, with a mix of affluent townhouses and theatres.

The shops began to take over in the 1830s, with a massive rebuilding programme in the latter half of the 19th century creating landmark retail destinations; John Lewis opened on Oxford Street in 1864 and Selfridges opened in 1909.

Now, Aston Chase is predicting a return to Oxford Street’s Victorian residential heyday…

David Galman, Sales Director at Galliard Homes: “The new Oxford Street survey shows that there are now as many homes being built along Oxford Street as shops. The location is undergoing significant regeneration and becoming more residential in character. Currently the location is relatively underpriced compared to neighbouring Mayfair and Marylebone and this is good for buyers.
An uplift will come in property values as electric cars, Crossrail and pedestrianised areas bring dynamic change to Oxford Street. Over the next five years we see the famous throughfare becoming one of London’s most sought after residential addresses.

Mark Pollack, Co-Founding Director at Aston Chase: “Oxford Street and its surrounding roads and lanes are becoming more residential, with new apartments behind built above boutique shops. During the 18th Century Oxford Street was a residential address and the return to more housing provision is perhaps not surprising given that Oxford Street fronts onto Mayfair, Marylebone and Fitrovia, all of which are established, highly desirable, residential addresses. Technology and the internet have also changed the face of retailing. Advances in logistics mean that stores no longer require large stockroom areas on their upper floors, so new development can provide retail on the ground and basement levels, with new apartments above.

“At the Rathbone Place project by Oxford Street Aston Chase sold the 4,000 sqft penthouse off plan for £15.25 million to a Scandinavian buyer. This is one of the biggest residential deals on Oxford Street and demonstrates both how the location has changed, but also underlines the quality of the apartments and penthouses being built around Oxford Street.”