Alchemi Group

Phone: 0207 499 3881Fax: 0207 499 3883info@alchemigroup.com

Alchemi Boss: Why the regeneration of Nine Elms adds up

Prime Resi, 4 September 2017

Contrary to some recent negative headlines, sales rates are strong and current supply will be soaked up by the time the Northern Line is extended and Apple moves in, says Charlie Baxter…

The tabloids may have painted a picture of panicked buyers offloading units and walking away from their deposits, but the reality in Nine Elms is quite different, says Charlie Baxter...

read more»

For the past three years the Central London residential market has been buoyant for properties priced below £2m but there are signs of a slowdown across the board.

A combination of rises in Stamp Duty in October 2014, and again in November 2015, and economic uncertainty created by Brexit has caused the Central London market to stall with sales down by more than 50% and a significant decrease of 36% in the number of planning applications for new developments.

There has been a historic shortage of new stock in London, characterised by continued failure to build anywhere close to the 50,000 per annum new home target, although last year recorded the best result to date with 28,000 new homes.

The continued new home shortage in London has also not been helped by additional taxes and burdens being imposed by local councils, keen to ensure private sector developers contribute more to resolve the shortage of affordable homes.

Adding all of this us, it’s hard to see how the chronic under supply of London homes will be resolved in the short to medium term. Conversely demand grows ever stronger with the capital’s population continuing to boom (4.2 billion in the early 1960s, now 7.5 billion…and growing rapidly) so prices will inevitably continue to rise, especially as London’s strong brand continues to flourish internationally. As is often the way with strong brands, the more unattainable, the more appealing they become.

The massive regeneration of Vauxhall and Nine Elms is definitely a bright spot for Central London residential and will help to ease the supply issue. The statistics are impressive with more than 20,000 homes and two million square feet of office space being created.

Ten years ago, Lambeth earmarked Vauxhall an area suitable for tall buildings, nine years ago the US Embassy decided to re-locate to Nine Elms and five years ago saw the sale of Battersea Power Station to Malaysian backers, who started development right away. Seven years ago saw the topping out of Vauxhall’s first tall building “The Tower”, six years ago saw consent and funding of the new Northern line extension and five years ago saw Ballymore’s success launch of Embassy Garden. For the past five years development momentum has gathered leading to a sea of cranes, mud and hoardings!

Finally a tipping point has been reached in Vauxhall and Nine Elms. One year ago saw the opening of Waitrose and Sainsbury’s, completion of Vauxhall’s second tower “Vauxhall Sky Gardens”, Apple signing a 500,000 square foot office lease and then this Summer’s launch of Battersea Power Station’s Phase One, including new restaurants. Later this year will also finally witness the opening of new US Embassy.

Despite the tabloids printing numerous stories of panicked purchasers offloading off plan flat purchases onto the resale market for losses and walking away from 10% deposits, the reality is quite different. No one has walked away from their purchases because it’s obvious that an area selling brand new homes four tube stops from Oxford Circus at an average of £1,500 per square foot represent great value. Especially, with Chelsea Barracks flat less than a mile away selling for an average £4,000 per square foot.

Of the 20,000 home total, there are only circa 6,500 homes currently in pipeline for sale, whilst more than 1,1000 apartments have been sold in the past year alone and others have been bulk sold to Private Rental Sector operations. Sales rates are strong and, far from oversupply, the area is on target to soak up the current supply by the time the Northern Line extension is completed, and Apple move into their new offices in 2021. We also have to consider that the area is set to generate 25,000 jobs, so Apple is just part of the story.

Sties in the area are being snapped up too. The year alone there have been four major development site sales in Vauxhall and Nine Elms totalling £800m in purchase value. Further evidence, if needed, that developers recognise the massive potential offered by Vauxhall and Nine Elms too and that the regeneration is now well and heading down the home straight.

Without question – Central London’s greatest success story!

Planning secured for new prime development at 5 Strand for BlackRock

Adjaye Associates PR, 11 July 2017

London: July 11 2017, Westminster City Council has approved Adjaye Associates’ plans for the redevelopment of 5 Strand in the heart of London’s Trafalgar Square Conservation Area.

The internationally acclaimed architecture practice has been appointed by development manager Alchemi Group, on behalf of investment firm BlackRock, Inc. to redevelop the site situated at 5 Strand with a 158,000 sq. ft mixed use development.

The proposed development will include 6 floors of new Grade A, flexible office space to meet the demands of the modern office market. It will also comprise of 26 luxury residential apartments on the upper four levels and a lively public realm animated by retail at ground level.

read more»

Drawing inspiration from the surrounding Grade I and II listed buildings, the approved development will provide a contemporary architectural landmark that sympathizes with the surrounding character and language of the The Strand and immediate area.

Particular attention has been paid to ensuring height and roof lines of the new development respond appropriately to those of its neighbours, with special consideration given to the buildings visibility from Trafalgar Square and The National Gallery.

Employing a diverse palette of high quality, sustainable materials Adjaye Associates design not only demonstrates its commitment to detail and the importance of creating a relationship between the building and its surroundings, but also its consideration to the buildings environmental credentials. The new development aspires to a 35% carbon reduction through the use of high performance building fabric and glazing as well as low to zero carbon technologies and smart building systems. The commercial office workspace will also target BREEAM ‘Excellent’ certification.

The new development will also deliver an improved streetscape and public realm for the famous London thoroughfare. A cantilevered retail colonnade, positioned at street level, has been introduced as a contemporary re-interpretation of the arch motifs frequently used in the locality but also to provide passive control measures - opening up the ground plane to provide a clear and generous public conduit from The Strand to Charing Cross.

Speaking of the announcement Sir David Adjaye said: “This is not only an exciting opportunity to revitalise an historic London site through the creation of an exemplar mixed use development. The development will also begin to restore The Strands architectural confluence as a core power axis in line with that of The Mall, Whitehall and Pall Mall.”

Laura Marino, Creative Director and Co-Founder of Alchemi Group commented “To say we are thrilled to have achieved planning for the client is an understatement. The architecture speaks for itself and is unlike what is currently being built across London. It was crucial to come up with a building that addresses the importance of the site itself and would stand on its own without overshadowing its immediate surroundings nor the conservation area. Adjaye Associates also skillfully met the demands of a rigorous design process which has led to an outstanding mixed-use development.”

Property news, key new developments in the London market

The Resident, 26 June 2017

Leinster Square, W2

Prices from £3,950,000

read more»

Leinster Square’s five triplexes and sit apartments reflect the grandeur and prestige of Notting Hill’s Victorian Garden Square architecture, with interiors that effortlessly fuse traditional and modern design providing elegant homes ideal for relaxation and entertainment. Ranging in size from 2,688 sq ft to 3,683 sq ft and spread over three floors, the stunning three and four bedroom triplexes retain many of the original features including the Grade II listed sash windows, staircase, and iron wrought railings that are archetypal o these properties, inside, each room radiates a distinct identity, and kitchens, bathrooms, walls and floors have been perfected using a palette of the finest materials available.

For more contact the Alchemi Group on 020 7499 3881 or visit

leinstersquarew2.com

55 Victoria Street development: Alchemi Group & architects Stiff + Trevillion wins RIBA London Regional Award 2017

22 May 2017

We're thrilled to announce our development, 55 Victoria Street, has won the RIBA London Regional Award 2017 for the southwest region of the UK.

Many thanks to RIBA, Markerstudy and WCC for consenting this wonderfully "impolite" building to be made!

More thanks to the rest of project team for their hard work and support in making 55 such a standout. Including but not limited to:

Studio L, London - Development concept and interiors

Mason Navarro Pledge - Structural Engineer

Core 5 - Cost Consultant

Gerald Eve - Planning

John Sisk & Son - Main Contractor

Buro Four - Project Management

Norman Disney Young - M&E Consultant

read more»
215 developments were entered and 85 shortlisted for this year’s award. The RIBA awards celebrate architectural excellence and are awarded to UK buildings for their regional importance as a piece of architecture.

55 Victoria Street is a residential conversion and extension of a 1980's office building. Studio L conceptualised the development to create authentic New York loft style apartments in central London with character and spaciousness.

By working alongside S+T, we ensured the quality of the design continued throughout the building to feel like a boutique hotel. From the edgy, double-height lobby, to the amenity spaces and the uniquely specified apartment interiors, no detail was overlooked.

The apartments feature striking 2.9 metre ceilings and 5-metre-wide window bays, generous open plan living spaces with consistent and thoughtful interior architecture and specification all make 55 one of a kind in lifestyle city living.

Regional winners will be considered for the highly-coveted RIBA National Award, successful recipients will be announced in June.

Spotlight on Notting Hill

Evening Standard Homes & Property, 17 May 2017

From Carnival to the antiques market to stucco homes, everything about this boho neighbourhood shouts ‘London’. By Anthea Masey.

For the film Notting Hill, in which humble bookseller William Thacker, played by Hugh Grant, meets, falls in love with and marries Hollywood star Anna Scott, played by Julia Roberts, Grant famously walks down Portobello Road against a background of the changing seasons.

The smash hit movie of 1999 was responsible for propelling this west London neighbourhood to global “superstardom”, says estate agent Arthur Lintell, from the Westbourne Grove branch of Knight Frank.

read more»

Lintell, who grew up in Notting Hill, says the area has long had a bohemian buzz. Over 50 years it has transformed from an edgy area with densely packed social housing into a sought-after hotspot, its tall, stucco terraces now returned to family homes with front foors in Farrow & Ball colours – and price tags in the millions. However, the trail or tourists rummaging amount Portobello Road Market’s stalls has remained a constant.

Notting Hill’s renowned garden squares, almost uniquely, offer residents direct access without having to cross a road. “There is something special about being able to open a door on to a private garden and let your children out to play,” says Lintell. These days people are happy to pay prime central London prices for the privilege.

The recent death of black rights activist Darcus Howe has more turbulent past than is suggested by designer shops that now line Westbourne Grove. Howe and others were charged in the Seventies with riot, affray and assault but after his acquittal he become a leading light in the development of the Notting Hill Carnival, helping build it into Europe’s largest street party. An annual celebration of British West Indian Culture, with two days of parades, dancing and drinking, the carnival splits opinion. “Some residents lock up their homes and leave town while others join in,” says Arthur Lintell.

The Property Scene

Notting Hill is remarkable for its large stucco terraces facing garden squares. The entry price for a whole house in one of the garden squares is now about £5.5 million. Many of the larger houses have been converted into flats, with one-bedroom garden square flats starting about £900,000 and two-bedroom flats in the region of £1.5 million.

New-build homes – Portobello Square is the redevelopment of the Wornington Green estate by housing association Catalyst at the Golborne Road, or northern, end of Portobello Road. Starting out in 2011, two out of three phases have now been built and only one three-bedroom mews house remains. In Bonchurch Road, it is on the market at £1.85 million, contact Hamptons on 020 3451 1544.

Alchemi Group’s 7-12 Leinster Square scheme is the conversion of six large terrace houses into six lateral flats and five townhouses. One three-bedroom, three-bathroom flat remains, priced £3.95 million. Call Hamptons on 020 3451 1544. Visit leinstersquarew2.com.

Boutique scheme 27 Linden Gardens is the development of a Victorian townhouse into four two and three-bedroom flats, priced from £2.5 million. Call Fruition Properties on 020 3828 0116. Another Fruition Properties scheme, 94 Westbourne Park Villas is the conversion of a former Buddhist centre into two spacious two and three-bedroom duplex apartments, with prices starting at £2,275,000 (as before).

Who rents here- Elizabeth Holder, lettings manager at Knight Frank, says that anything with access to one of the communal gardens rents at a premium. “Around a quarter of our tenants work in finance and we are now entering our bus period with families looking for homes near the schools they have chosen for their children,” she adds. “Most of our landlords are accidental, either because they are working abroad or, more recently, because they haven’t been able to sell their homes.”

Every Saturday morning: Notting Hill Farmer’s Market in Kensington Place.

Transport

Sitting west of central London, Notting Hill offers easy access to Heathrow airport and the M4 and M40 motorways. It is also well-served by the Tube network – Notting Hill Gate and Holland Park stations are on the Central line, with trains to Bank. Latimer Road, Ladbroke Grove and Westbourne Park are on the Hammersmith & City and Circle lines with trains to Moorgate. All stations are in Zone 2, except Notting Hill Gate which is in Zone 1. An annual travelcard to Zone 1 costs £1,296. Useful commuter buses are the No 7 to Oxford Circus; the No 23 to Liverpool Street via Oxford Street; the No 52 to Victoria and the No 452 to Vauxhall via Sloane Square.

An end to hostelities

Metro, 2 May 2017

No expense has been spared to turn a disused hostel into five townhouses, says Oliver Wadeson.

Sting met his wife Trudie Styler while living here in the 1980s but it would be fair to says Leinster Square – despite its proximity to Notting Hill and many grand houses – is not exactly a celebrity haven.

But this might be all about to change as the address, which is close to bustling Queensway, is certainly coming up in the world – thanks in no small measure to the work of luxury interior firm Alchemi on a number of properties in the north-east corner of the square.

read more»

Alchemi acquired an abandoned hostel that spanned numbers 7 to 12 Leinster Square in 2012 and has spent years since carrying out a major modernisation project. The fruit of this work is five three and four-bed townhouses and a flat – including this exquisitely decorated three-bed towhouse, number 12, now on the market for £5.25 million.

To get an idea why so much work was required, it’s worth pointing out the recent history of numbers 7 to 12 Leinster Square. Incredible as it might seem when properties in this area can quite easily top £10 million, until 2007 this stretch of the square had been used for the previous 20 years as a downmarket hostel. “It was a bit like a halfway house” says Alchemi’s creative director Laura Marino. “It had a bar on each floor painted a different colour with a different theme and it was clear this was a druggy sort of establishment. “There were hundreds of bunk beds all over the houses – so I am guessing it was not the most expensive place to find somewhere to sleep in London. I was told that there was once an infamous occasion when someone fell of a bunk bed wedged up against a window and landed in the street below.”

The hostel had been abandoned for six and a half years before Alchemi snapped it up and the properties were in such a bad repair that Westminster Council had put them on the endangered list.

Perhaps most incredibly they are Grade II listed, so despite finding them in the state they were in, Alchemi embarked on the restoration project with English Heritage breathing down their necks through the entire process. “We didn’t get any leeway from EH due to the shambolic condition of the houses.” Says Laura.

Looking around no 12 Leinster Square, it’s hard to imagine its previous existence as a down-at-heel hostel. The detail that Alchemi has adhered to in restoring it to its former glory is incredible – from the traditional horse hair plastering work, to the cornicing, chandeliers and banisters. “It was a constant challenge marrying up the restoration with making it marketable as a modern living space.” Says Laura.

“Things had got in such a bad state we had to find anything we could salvage and send them to forensic analysts so we could recreate them. English Heritage were strict about lots of things – for example, we weren’t allowed to re-asphalt the front terrace.” Alchemi is also proud that a more glorious period in the houses’ history has been recognised in its work here. The famous Victorian ornithologist and founder of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds William Henry Hudson lived at No 11 Leinster Square towards the end of his life and all of the property restored by Alchemi have a number of subtle nods to this – at No 12 there are some rooms with bird motifs on wallpaper.

Next month, a ceremony will be held at which a Westminster Green Plaque will be unveiled in recognition of Hudson’s connection with the address. With all the work carried out at No 12, Alchemi’s effort to create a luxurious modern living space should not be overlooked. A standout feature is an outdoor space carved out from the back of the house that provides a courtyard on the lower ground floor, an open space on the ground level and a balcony on the first floor, which is accessed from the master bedroom en suite from a landing.

The lower ground level also provides two bedrooms, both with en suites, one of which could naturally be used as staff accommodation as it has a separate entrance. The kitchen, living room and dining room are on the ground floor, with the master bedroom on the first. This also has a terrace at the front. Alchemi has used an incredible 15 different types of marble in the house, most sourced from Italy. It also has a modern interpretation of Victorian tiles through the house.

Given the fact is has replaced a hostel with high-end luxury homes, one would expect Alchemi to be popular with the other residents on the square, but as part of the project it was also instructed to upgrade the garden square, which put a few noses out of joint. “The garden was totally unkempt and residents could only use 70 per cent of it – but they paid a peppercorn figure for access. We spent about £375,000 doing it up, putting in a pathway etc. We hired the landscaper Laura De Beden to do the work and we met with 165 residents for consultations throughout the process. We had to raise the maintenance fees and this ruffled a few feathers but I think everyone is happy now.

55 Victoria Street shortlisted for RIBA Awards 2017

RIBA, 1 April 2017

A total of 85 buildings across the capital have been shortlisted for an RIBA London Regional Award this year.

A total of 215 schemes were entered for the London awards in 2017 - up 30 on last year’s submissions. Throughout April all shortlisted schemes will be visited by one of five London juries.

The winners of this year’s RIBA London Regional Awards will be announced at an awards ceremony at the RIBA, 66 Portland Place, on Monday 22 May.

Leinster Square in West London

Homes & Property Online , 14 March 2017

Boutique developer drops prices of grand townhouses and garden square flats near Bayswater.

The West London garden square homes now start at £3.95m – which is a significant discount on pre-Brexit prices.

Homes in expensive central London postcodes are cheaper than they were before the Brexit vote as developers and estate agents trim prices to reflect the fall in demand.

Typically, values are down by about 15 per cent, and buying now may prove to be a window of opportunity.

read more»

Boutique developer Alchemi Group has slashed the price of grand townhouses and flats in Leinster Square scheme on the cusp of Notting Hill and Bayswater.

However, you still need deep pockets to live in Alchemi’s garden square properties, which now start at £3.95 million.

Call Alchemi Group on 0207 499 3881 for more details.

Why London’s Townhouses are making a comeback

The Resident Online, 14 March 2017

London’s townhouses are proving popular again with families looking for space and style. The classic façade combined with modern exterior is hard to resist, it seems. The Resident’s property expert Fiona Brandhorst takes a look at some of London’s most popular new additions to the market.

Townhouses were traditionally just that – a house in the city during the social season for wealthy country residents of the 18th Century. Often arranged along wide tree-lined avenues or around leafy squares these terraced, multi-story homes are among the most sought-after and highly priced in London today.

read more»

Enjoying a Zone 1 central location, Alchemi Group’s Hudson collection of five restored townhouses in leafy Leinster Square reflect the grandeur and prestige of Notting Hill’s Victorian architecture. Spread over three floors, these spacious three and four-bedroom homes retain many original features including Grade II listed sash windows, staircase and iron wrought railings associated with these properties (priced from £5.250m through Hamptons International).

Hillgate House, also in Notting Hill, is a new build contemporary townhouse-style property designed by award-winning Seth Stein Architects and on the market with Harrods Estates for £6.75m. Set behind a traditional façade and arranged over four floors, the house has the living space on the upper levels and is filled with natural light. There are three principal bedroom suites, an additional guest suite and integral garage. The lower level included a plunge pool and entertainment space.

Charlie Hilleen, Director at Dexters Notting Hill Estate Agents, comments: ‘We are finding that townhouse command a premium in the luxury London market with many people still attracted to the classic style of a townhouse. Those that has been modernised, but retain a period façade or historical features, are especially coveted as they offer the perfect balance.’ Dexters is selling a contemporary, interior designed three-bedroom townhouse with secluded patio garden in Moscow Road, close to the soon to be rejuvenated Bayswater and moments from Hyde Park, for £1,999.950.

According to the latest research from Lloyds Bank, Easton Square, in the heart of Belgravia and celebrated home of the iconic white stucco townhouse, has been crowned the most expensive street in the country with an average price of £16,944,000. A rare freehold, seven-floor townhouse on Wilton Place is being sold by Harrods Estates for £14m.

'The trend of converting townhouses into apartments, embassies, or offices or hotel is finally reversing with many of Belgravia’s grand townhouses being redeveloped back into single family homes.’ Shaun Director of Harrods Estates, Knightsbridge.

In St John’s Way Battersea, London’s leading housing association Peabody is transforming the lifestyle of townhouse living with its exclusive selection of executive homes set over three floors. The Danvers Collection is a reinterpretation of the townhouse featuring spacious interiors, ample storage and private terraces, making them attractive to professionals who like to entertain. Prices start from £975,000 for a three bedroom executive home.

Sarah Butler, Sales & Marketing Director Peabody, comment: ‘Buyers are now shunning the romanticized notion of having a Victorian townhouse to instead look for sleek, modern living over three floors.’

In Fulham, Riverside Barratt has launched its Townhouse Collection of just eight homes influenced by the distinctive riverside warehouses in the area. Situated on west London’s prime waterfront and surrounded by an acre of tiered landscaped gardens. Fulham Riverside is a short walk from Imperial Wharf station.

The five and six-bedroom townhouses feature a personal lift to tall floors, accessed from the underground basement car park. Prices start from £3.9m for a five-bedroom, five-storey townhouse and completion is expected in late 2020.

Along the river, Chiswick Gate is a collection of three, four and five-bedroom townhouses by Berkeley Homes inspired by the timeless quality of London’s classic, residential squares. Enjoying views over a beautifully-landscaped, pedestrianised boulevard or the lush garden square, which form the heart of this new community, it’s close to Chiswick High Road, Prices start from £1.93m for a 1,822 sq ft home.

Two developments by St James in Old Isleworth are set to complete in 2017. Fitzroy Gate is a luxury gated estate of 39 four, five and six-bedroom, four-storey homes. Prices start from £1.25m. Brewery Gate is an exclusive collection of 28 spacious four and five-bedroom townhouses, with prices starting from £1.55m.

Alchemi Group secures planning for Vauxhall tower

Estates Gazette, 9 March 2017

Alchemi Group has secured consent for its 360,000 sq ft mixed-use Vauxhall tower.

The development at 12-20 Wyvil Road, SW8, will provide 225 private flats with a gym, swimming pool, sauna, club room and parking, over 36 storeys. There are two separate buildings, an eight-storey block with 23 rented affordable homes and another with 12,000 sq ft of offices and 3,600 sq ft of shops.

The Stiff + Trevillion-designed scheme incorporates brick façades and glazed terracotta panels, a nod to Lambeth’s historic pottery trade.

read more»

The development is on the south-east corner of Vauxhall’s tall building cluster near the proposed Nine Elms tube station, due to open in 2020.

Alchemi acquired the site in late 2015 with an existing planning consent for a 36-storey tower comprising 305,000 sq ft, accommodating 175 private residential apartments.

The group redesigned the site, increasing the private apartment net saleable area by 62%. The project will start on site in May 2017, with a provisional completion date of late 2020.

Lance Routh, architect, Stiff + Trevillion, said: “When Alchemi bought this site, it challenged us to radically reappraise the original consent. We wanted to create a piece of city, centred on a public space with a mix of uses that will contribute to making this residential quarter a vibrant part of London.

“Alchemi encouraged us to design a sophisticated high-quality building that will stand out from its neighbours. We sought inspiration from the wave of recent residential developments in Manhattan; this is manifested in the finely crafted bespoke glazed ceramic elevations to the tower.”

Alchemi Group secures planning for 360,000 sqft mixed use Vauxhall development

Housebuilder & Developer, 9 March 2017

Award-winning London Development Manager, Alchemi Group, last night secured planning approval for it’s residentially led, mixed use tower development at 12-20 Wyvil Road, Vauxhall.

read more»

Designed with acclaimed architects, Stiff & Trevillion, the newly approved project will provide 255 new private apartments with thoughtful residential amenities including a fully equipped gym, swimming pool, sauna, residents club room and parking facilities all within a 36 storey main tower. There are two further separate including an 8 storey apartment block offering 23 rentable affordable homes and 12,000 sqft of grade A office space. The ground floor will house a further 3,600 sqft of retail space. Lushly landscaped spaces have been created for the enjoyment of the public, residents and office users including two private rooftop terraces on the 1st and 6th floors.

Alchemi’s brief to Stiff & Trevillion was to do the opposite of its previous incarnation – a glass and steel consented development which became lost amongst many of the neighbouring buildings. They were encouraged to create a tower that can stand on its own and has a timeless feel due to the craftsmanship of the external material and colour.

The development is location on the south east corner of Vauxhall’s new tall building cluster – yards away from the newly opened Sainbury’s and is a two minute walk from the new Nine Elms tube station, due to open in 2020.

Lance Routh, Architect, Stiff & Trevillion, says:

“When Alchemi bought this site they challenged us to radically reappraise the original consent. We wanted to create a piece of city, centred on a new public space with a mix of uses that will contribute to making this new residential quarter a vibrant part of London. Alchemi encouraged us to design a sophisticated high quality building that will stand out from its neighbours we sought inspiration from the wave of recent residential developments in Manhattan: this is manifested in the finely crafted bespoke glazed ceramic elevations to the tower.”

Charlie Baxter, Managing Director and Co-Founder of Alchemi Group:

“We are thrilled that we have secured planning consent on our revised design for 12-20 Wyvil Road and to be a significant part of the £15 billion transformation of Vauxhall and Nine Elms, the largest regeneration project in the UK. Working closely with the local community and authority we saw an opportunity to create a development for people to enjoy and be proud to live in. We intend for this development to have a character of its own and provide highly designed, inspiring amenity and private residential spaces. We’re also pleased about the timing of this consent. Our development will be completed when the majority of construction and infrastructure will be in place, meaning that our development will be one of the last destinations in the area to be able to live.”

Laura Marino, Co-Founder and Creative Director and Alchemi Group & Studio L, London:

“After working with Stiff & Trevillion on numerous projects, I felt that collaborating on this project was a natural progression of our simultaneous design trajectory and growth. I also felt it was very important that, aesthetically speaking, there was a design language already established because I knew that asking an architect to design a 36 storey tower out of green glaze terracotta would take the confidence and willing. We’re grateful to Lambeth Council to have granted this consent and we will continue to work diligently on every detail of this project so by the time it’s complicated, they can be proud that they gave us the green light!”

Alchemi, acting as Development Manager, acquired the site in late 2015 with an existing planning consent for a 36 storey tower comprising of 305,00 sqft and accommodating 175 private residential apartments. Alchemi decided to redesign the site and go back to planning and as a result, have increased the private apartment net saleable area by 62 per cent. Now that the consent has been achieved, the project will start on site in May 2017 with a provisional completion date of late 2020.

Alchemi Group secures planning for 360,000 sqft mixed use Vauxhall development

Press release, 8 March 2017

Award-winning London Development Manager, Alchemi Group, has today secured planning approval for its residentially led, mixed use tower development at 12-20 Wyvil Road, Vauxhall.

read more»

Designed with acclaimed architects, Stiff + Trevillion, the newly approved project will provide 255 new private apartments with thoughtful residential amenities including a fully equipped gym, swimming pool, sauna, residents club room and parking facilities all within a 36 storey main tower. There are two further separate buildings including an 8 storey apartment block offering 23 rentable affordable homes and 12,000 sqft of grade A office space. The ground floor will house a further 3,600 sqft of retail space. Lushly landscaped spaces have been created for the enjoyment of public realm, residents and office users including two private rooftop terraces on the 1st and 6th floors.

Alchemi’s brief to Stiff + Trevillion was to do the opposite of its previous incarnation – a glass and steel consented development which became lost amongst many of the neighbouring buildings. They were encouraged to create a tower that can stand on its own and has a timeless feel due to the craftsmanship of the external material and colour.

The simple classic form of the main tower uses continuous vertical piers and glazed terracotta panels to create substance and rhythm, whilst the brick façades of the lower buildings add tonality and distinction, as well as saluting the long history of the pottery trade in Lambeth.

The development is located on the south east corner of Vauxhall’s new tall building cluster – yards away from the newly opened Sainsbury’s and is two minutes walk from the new Nine Elms tube station due to open in 2020.

Lance Routh, Architect, Stiff + Trevillion, says:

“When Alchemi bought this site they challenged us to radically reappraise the original consent. We wanted to create a piece of city, centred on a new public space with a mix of uses that will contribute to making this new residential quarter a vibrant part of London. Alchemi encouraged us to design a sophisticated high quality building that will stand out from its neighbours. We sought inspiration from the wave of recent residential developments in Manhattan; this is manifested in the finely crafted bespoke glazed ceramic elevations to the tower.”

Charlie Baxter, Managing Director and co–founder of Alchemi Group:

"We are thrilled that we have secured planning consent on our revised design for 12-20 Wyvil Road and to be a significant part of the £15 billion transformation of Vauxhall and Nine Elms. The largest regeneration project in UK. Working closely with the local community and authority we saw an opportunity to create a development for people to enjoy and be proud to live in. We intend for this development to have a character of its own and provide highly designed, inspiring amenity and private residential spaces. We’re also pleased about the timing of this consent. Our development will be completed when the majority of construction and infrastructure will be in place, meaning that our development will be one of the last destinations in the area to be able to live.”

Co-founder and Creative Director at Alchemi Group & Studio L, London, Laura Marino:

“After working with Stiff + Trevillion on numerous projects, I felt that collaborating on this project was a natural progression of our simultaneous design trajectory and growth. I also felt it was very important that, aesthetically speaking, there was a design language already established because I knew that asking an architect to design a 36 storey tower out of green glazed terracotta would take confidence and willing. We’re grateful to Lambeth Council to have granted this consent and we will continue to work diligently on every detail of this project so by the time it’s completed, they can be proud that they gave us the green light!”

Alchemi, acting as Development Manager, acquired the site in late 2015 with an existing planning consent for a 36 storey tower comprising of 305,000 sqft and accommodating 175 private residential apartments. Alchemi decided to redesign the site and go back to planning and as a result, have increased the private apartment net saleable area by 62%. Now that the consent has been achieved, the project will start on site in May 2017 with a provisional completion date of late 2020.

Alchemi bags planning for new Vauxhall tower

Prime Resi, 8 March 2017

Planners have OK-ed Alchemi Group's major new resi-led mixed-use project in Vauxhall.

Acting as Development Manager, the firm snapped up the Wyvil Road site in late 2015 complete with planning for a 305,000 square foot, 36-storey tower delivering 175 private apartments.

read more»

The call was taken to rejig the config, and Alchemi brought Stiff + Trevillion on board to resubmit some new plans, which somehow managed to increase the net saleable area by an impressive 62%.

The architects' brief was to "do the opposite" of its previous incarnation - a glass and steel affair that got a bit lost amongst the neighbouring buildings - and the resulting 360,000 square foot scheme is all about glazed terracotta panels and brick facades (described as a "salute" to the long history of the pottery trade in Lambeth).

The apartment tally has been ramped up to 255, while two separate buildings will house 23 rentable affordable homes and 12,000 square foot of retail space on the ground floor and residents will have access to landscaped gardens plus two private rooftop terraces, with in-house amenities including a gym, pool, sauna, club room and parking.

Lambeth Council gave its blessing last night and work is due to start on site in May 2017, with a provisional completion date of late 2020.

Lance Routh, Architect, Stiff + Trevillion: "When Alchemi bought this site they challenged us to radically reappraise the original consent. We wanted to create a piece of city, centred on a new public space with a mix of uses that will contribute to making this new residential quarter a vibrant part of London. Alchemi encouraged us to design a sophisticated high quality building that will stand out from its neighbours. We sought inspiration from the wave of recent residential developments in Manhattan; this manifested in the finely crafted bespoke glazed ceramic elevations to the tower."

Charlie Baxter, Managing Director and co-founder of Alchemi Group: "We are thrilled that we have secured planning consent on our revised design for 12-20 Wyvil Road and to be a significant part of the £15 billion transformation of Vauxhall and Nine Elms, the largest regeneration project in the UK. Working closely with the local community and authority we saw an opportunity to create a development for people to enjoy and be proud to live in. We intend for this development to have a character of its own and provide highly designed, inspiring amenity and private residential spaces. We're also pleased about the timing of this consent. Our development will be completed when the majority of construction and infrastructure will be in place, meaning that our development will be one of the last destinations in the area to be able to live."

Co-founder and Creative Director at Alchemi Group & Studio L, London, Laura Marino: "After working with Stiff + Trevillion on numerous projects, I felt that collaborating on this project was a natural progression of our simultaneous design trajectory and growth. I also felt it was very important that, aesthetically speaking, there was a design language already established because I knew that asking an architect to design a 36 storey tower out of green glazed terracotta would take confidence and willing. W're grateful to Lambeth Council to have granted this consent and we will continue to work diligently on every detail of this project so by the time it's completed, they can be proud that they gave us the green light!"

Price is right Brexit bonus in Bayswater

Evening Standard Homes & Property, 8 March 2017

Homes in expensive central London postcodes are cheaper than they were before the Brexit vote as developers and estate agents trim prices to reflect the fall in demand.

read more»

Typically, values are down by about 15%, and buying now may prove to be a window of opportunity.

Boutique developer Alchemi Group has slashed the price of grand townhouses and flats at its Leinster Square scheme, left and right, on the cusp of Notting Hill and Bayswater. However, you still need deep pockets to live in Alchemi's garden square properties, which now start at £3.95 million. 0207 499 3881.

Stiff + Trevillion's reworked Vauxhall tower scheme

The Architect's Journal, 8 March 2017

Revised plans by Stiff & Trevillion for three buildings, including a 37-storey residential tower in Vauxhall, South London, have been approved by councillors.

Earlier this week London Borough of Lambeth’s planning applications committee unanimously voted in favour of the scheme, which replaces an existing consent by Stephen Davy Peter Smith Architects.

read more»

Stiff & Trevillion altered its own initial designs for the plot in Wyvil Road, which were submitted in September last year on behalf of development manager Alchemi Group, by reducing the height of a proposed office building from three and 10 storeys, to one and five storeys.

Lance Routh, a director at Stiff & Trevillion, told the AJ: ‘There is an outline permission for a school to the east of our site, and after discussions with the council over daylight and sunlight issues, we have brought down the height of the office building and changed the angle of the east elevation.’

These changes have almost halved the amount of office floorspace in the development from about 3,700m2 to 1,900m2, although this is still 657m2 than the previously consented scheme.

The practice, which has been novated for the delivery stage of the project, has also increased the number of residential units in its scheme from 272 to 278.

However, the amount of affordable housing has been reduced by 35 homes and replaced by a payment in lieu from the developer of £10.6 million to fund affordable housing elsewhere in the borough.

Routh said that the lower two building will be clad with brick to integrate more effectively with their surroundings, while the tower will be ‘more flamboyant’.

The 0.33ha site is the southernmost, and last to be granted permission, in the Vauxhall cluster.

Neighbouring developments include Carey Jones Architects’ 130m-tall Sky Gardens and Allies and Morrison’s 74,300m2 regeneration of Keybridge House.

Other towers under construction in the rapidly emerging Vauxhall cluster include the £200 million Jenga Tower and the 58-storey One Nine Elms – both designed by KPF.

And Rolfe Judd’s 737-home Sainsbury’s supermarket redevelopment – featuring three towers of 19, 28 and 37 storeys respectively – is due to complete in late 2019.

Routh said: ‘The big challenge for us is that there is a lot of other stuff going on around that is aiming for the same audience. It is quire challenging to try to create something that is distinctive.’

Council planning officers have expressed broad satisfaction with the appearance of the buildings, saying the scheme ‘would support local distinctiveness and would not detract from the visual amenity of the local and wider area’.

A report that went before councillors said: ‘Although similar to other towers the proposal would be identifiable as an attractive tower in its own right, clearly distinctive due to its stepped roof profile and articulation of the buildings’ from to create two vertical volumes.’

Bargain hunt in Chelsea and Bayswater

The Times Bricks & Mortar, 24 February 2017

Reality-check discounts

The asking prices for five townhouses and an apartment on Leinster Square in Bayswater, central London, have been reduced by 15 per cent, illustrating that luxury developers, as well as homeowners, are having to make sure that their properties are keenly priced to secure a sale.

read more»

Charlie Baxter, the Managing Director of Alchemi Group, the developer, says: "We have taken a proactive approach to market conditions by lowering selling prices at Leinster Square by about 15 per cent. For buyers it is a phenomenal investment opportunity. We are in a market where selling prices commanded in recent times are not available. Brexit, stamp-duty rises and global political uncertainty have contributed to a slowdown in transactions, and price falls," he says.

"However, this won't last forever. Uncertainty over Brexit will begin to dissipate in the next two to three years as negotiations progress. There is also hope that some of the stamp-duty changes, designed in a different economic climate, will be reversed, while there will continue to be an undersupply of property in London."

"Another key driver for prime London property prices is the 15 per cent to 20 per cent fall in the value of the pound since the referendum. The city remains an attractive location for foreign investors and there are indications that sterling's weakness is having an impact on the market. Buyers who act now will benefit from the discount a weaker sterling provides, and stand to benefit from any recovery in the currency."

The Leinster Square properties, priced from £3.95 million to £7.5 million, range from a three-bedroom, 2,000 sq ft flat to a 3,683 sq ft three-storey, four-bedroom townhouse. The properties retain many period features, including grade II listed sash windows, staircases and wrought-iron railings, although inside they have been refurbished. Residents have access to a private garden square. Baxter believes the properties are a good investment, with Crossrail due to open in nearby Paddington in 2018.

Developer's funds vastly improve Leinster Square's communal garden

Garden square news, 1 January 2017

Usually the involvement of a developer in a garden square is a story of trouble - attempted theft of garden land, rogue scaf­folders, disruptive basement digging. This time, however, a developer has come to the res­cue of a run-down communal garden, and the residents are de­lighted with the results.

Leinster Square, W2, was a somewhat shabby-looking area with many poorly-maintained buildings overlooking a garden that was adequate but lacking in excitement.

In 2014 developers Alchemi Group, hired by American and Middle Eastern property in­vestors, launched the refurbish­ment of buildings 7-19 Leinster Square, almost the whole north side of the square [GSN spring 2014]. The 11 homes within 7- 12 are completed and selling at prices ranging from £3.9 mil­lion for an apartment to £8.7 million for a townhouse. Houses 13-19 have not yet un­dergone refurbishment. Of the 11 completed units, four have sold to date.

read more»

Spokeswoman Katie Weston said, "It seemed a no-brainer to ensure that the garden matched up to our plans to refurbish the buildings. The garden had been left fairly wild and just wasn't maximizing its potential, in part due to a lack of funds.

"So we agreed with both our investors that they would contribute to a full overhaul, de­signed to recreate a more Victo­rian style, on a par with our full refurbishments of the Grade II listed buildings, and to leave the members with a garden which was easy to maintain at a cost they could afford."

She said the most important part was restoring the flaking railings and repairing the cracked paths within the three­ quarter-acre garden. The project also included new benches, in­stallation of a water source, laying out an irrigation system, a new pavilion as a focal point for social gatherings, a new gar­dener's shed, new turf, and new planting.

The developers donated the bulk of the funds for the refur­bishment. Although Ms. Weston declined to reveal the figure, it is believed the company spent a substantial six-figure sum. Some £20,000 was contributed by residents. Although the garden com­mittee had at first been hesitant to join up with a developer in the upgrading of the garden, the developers gained the commit­tee's trust.

Ms. Weston said, "We took the time to meet with them and let them drive the process, we were there mainly as facilitators. Claire Tallis, who chairs the committee, was a driving force for the whole process."

Ms. Weston added, "We worked closely with the garden square committee to agree a de­ sign and select a contractor, and monitored the work for the du­ration. We are delighted with the end result, which is a huge improvement."

Ms. Tallis, chairman of Le­inster Square Gardens Ltd., said, "We are very pleased with what Alchemi did, and they were great to work with. We were very lucky to have this amazing opportunity, and I'm glad we took it."

She said the surrounding residents (called garden mem­bers) were consulted every step of the way to make sure the end results would be what they wanted. Laura de Beden was chosen as the landscape archi­tect, and she met extensively with residents to get their feed­ back. "When we were happy with the plan we put it back to the members and they all voted. It was a very collaborative plan," Ms. Tallis said. The whole process took some 18 months.

Six residents had personal involvement through buying six teak benches, each one to commemorate a specific person. The engraved benches, costing £500 each, were supplied by 4memorialbench. In addition to these standard benches, the de­velopers supplied two special curved teak benches, handmade in England, which are a key fea­ture in the garden.

Ms. Tallis said Leinster Square Gardens Ltd. has in­ creased its membership fee for the surrounding residents to an average of £175 per floor per year.

Charlie Baxter, managing director and co-founder of Al­chemi Group, said the garden refurbishment had been "tortu­ous" but he was pleased with the outcome. He himself grew up on a garden square - Eccle­ston Square, SWl - and worked as a gardener there. He said at the outset that he hoped to in­ corporate the best qualities of successful garden squares into Leinster Square.

Editorial:

Alchemi Group have set a new standard for developers working in garden squares. Congratulations to them.

Working closely and patiently with residents around Leinster square, W2, the developers have used their money and experience to transform Leinster Square from a rather drab garden into an inviting oasis.

Are you absorbing this, developers? Those of you who consistently attempt to encroach on garden land and give no compensation to garden neighbours inconvenienced by the noise, dust and disruption that accompany building works?

The key to this of course, is profit. Upgrade a garden and the developers can sell their new apartments at a higher price. And existing residents see their property values rise in proportion to the enhanced attractiveness of the garden they overlook. Win-win, and all it takes is a devloper that has sufficient savvy to invest for a longer-term gain.

The designer's game plan:

Landscape architect Laura de Beden said she addressed the "rigid" layout of the garden, its patchy maintenance, and the lack of coherence in the planting on the northern side.

"The idea was to offer both adults and children a direct contact with the earth, which so many seemed to enjoy, and to soften the look of the central area."

The plants she installed are designed to harmonise with the existing Victorian-style vegetation.

Green light for £13.5m resi transformation of Westminster Fire Station

Prime resi, 8 December 2016

Alchemi Group secures planning approval for a residential restoration of the Grade II listed former fire station

Central London property developer Alchemi Group has netted planning approval for its restoration of the Grade II listed Westminster Fire Station in Victoria.

read more»

The red brick and Portland stone former fire station, built in 1906, sits on the north side of Greycoat Place between Strutton Ground and Artillery Place. It was decommissioned by LFB in January 2014 and sat empty until Alchemi, as Development Manager, managed the acquisition of the site from London Fire Brigade in July 2016.

Approved designs by Openstudio architects now aim to "preserve and enhance the character and appearance of the listed property", delivering 17 apartments, a restaurant and a refurbished garden courtyard across two buildings, totalling 22,380 ft/2.

The £13.5m restoration includes the demolition of the current modern rear building and its replacement with a hand-made brick residential building, including glazed brick detailing, which has been "carefully designed to complement the grandeur and heritage of the listed front building".

Alchemi - which recently put in plans for a landmark David Adjaye-designed scheme on the Strand - plans to start on site in February 2017, with a provisional completion date of October 2018.

Laura Marino, Co-Founder and Creative Director, Alchemi Group: "We're thrilled to be working on such a special, boutique project with Openstudio architects. Westminster Fire Station expands our ever diversifying portfolio and our particular expertise working on listed buildings. It is an especially complicated site but our team worked diligently on coming up with clever solutions and designs to enhance this listed and new build development. We are also keeping the existing ground floor of the original fire station, adding a basement and converting it to a restaurant which will hopefully become a neighbourhood favourite!"

Jennifer Beningfield, Principal, Openstudio Architects: "It is a significant achievement to have gained consent for this complex and fascinating project, which involves the sensitive restoration of the Grade II listed Edwardian former Westminster Fire Station and a contemporary sculptural apartment building to the rear of the site. We have carefully upgraded the historic fire station, with a light torch, while using the materials and vocabulary of the existing building to give depth and interest to the new construction, which will define an internal landscaped courtyard. Alchemi is a very supportive client, who understands and enjoys the challenge of the project, and this consent is a tribute to their vision and the hard work of the team. We look forward to creating a very special place in the heart of London."

Adjaye reveals plans for Strand showstopper

The Architects' journal, 22 November 2016

Designs for a new mixed-use building on London's Strand by Adjaye Associates have been submitted for planning.

The building will supply 5,760 m2 of office spac, plus 26 high-end apartments on the top floors, and retail units on the ground floor. It will replace a 1982 office block - 5 Strand - which is currently the headquarters of Land securities.

read more»

The practice was appointed by development manager Alchemi Group on behalf of investment firm BlackRock Real Estate a year ago (aee AJ 10.11.15).

David Adjaye, principal of Adjaye Asssociates, said: 'The opportunity to work on the Strand, adjacent to the iconic Trafalgar Square, is an immense honour and one that I do not take lightly.

My team and I have undertaken rigorous investigation into the history and development of this crucial piece of London's urban fabric.

I am very proud of the resulting design, which draws on the architectural rhythms and forms of the context to produce something both modern and contextual, elegant and distinctive."

Co-founder and Creative Director at Alchemi Group, Laura Marino, said: "From the moment we were appointed on this outstanding project we knew that an exceptional design, befitting this landmark location, would be of paramount importance.

After holding a private competition, we appointed Adjaye Associates, who have just unveiled the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, in Washington, DC.

We listened very carefully to the feedback from planning officers and Westminster City Council, and the end result is, we believe, a truly outstanding building befitting this prestigious location."

First look: Plans go in for landmark 5 strand project

Prime resi , 21 November 2016

Plans have gone in to Westminster Council for the redevelopment of 5 Strand into a major new mixed-use scheme.

Alchemi Group and investment manager Blackrock Real estate are behind the project, which envisages a transformation of the uninspiring 1980s building into 26 apartments, 62,000 ft/2 of Grade A office space and a couple of retail units. The plans have been drawn up by the acclaimed Adjaye Associates of Smithsonian NMAAHC fame; Alchemi is acting as development manager.

read more»

The apartments would occupy the 7th floor and above, accessed via a separate, concierge-manned entrance on Craven Street.

Paul Tebbit, BlackRock's UK real estate business: "These proposals will transform the currently poor quality streetscape and public realm with provision for retail and cafe uses, which combined with the impressive facade detail will enhance the character of the Trafalgar square conservation area. The professional team led by development manager Alchemi Group, have incorporated detailed guidance from planning officers, Westminster City Council and numerous stakeholders in developing the final design. The result will be an outstanding building of extremely high quality.

Co-founder and Creative Director at Alchemi Group, Laura Marino: "From the moment we were appointed on this outstanding project we knew that an exceptional design, befitting of its landmark location, would be of paramount importance. After holding a private competition, we appointed Adjaye Associates, who have just unveiled The Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, in Washington, D.C. We listened carefully to the feedback from planning officers and Westminster City Council, and the end result is, we believe, a truly outstanding building befitting this prestigious location."

David Adjaye, Principal of Adjaye Associates: "The opportunity to work on the Strand, adjacent to the iconic Trafalgar Square, is an immense honour and one that I do not take lightly. My team and I have undergone rigorous investigation into the history and development of this crucial piece of London's urban fabric. Blackrock and Alchemi Group has been an incredible partner in this process. I am very proud of the resulting design, which draws from the architectural rhythms and forms of the context to produce something both modern and contextual, elegant and distinctive."

Blackrock acquired the 75,000 ft/2 back in 2011 for a reported £53.5m. Alchemi was appointed at the end of last year, and described the project as a "once-in-a-lifetime" opportunity.

Landmark 5 Strand in London

e-architect, 21 November 2016

Apartment, office and retail building development, England - design by Adjaye Associates

read more»

Development managers, Alchemi Group on behalf of BlackRock Real Estate today announced that they have submitted a planning application for the redevelopment of 5 Strand, WC2 into a mixed-use building. Designed by internationally acclaimed architects Ajdaye Associates, the new development will re-provide circa 62,000 ft/2 of Grade A office space accessed via an impressive, double height reception. In addition, the building will provide (from the 7th floor and above) 26 premier apartments with a separate, concierge manned entrance on Craven Street and will have two retail units at ground floor level.

These proposals will transform the currently poor quality streetscape and public realm with provision for retail and cafe uses, which combined with the impressive facade detail will enhance the character of the Trafalgar Square Conservation area. The professional team, led by development manager Alchemi Group, have incoprated detailed guidance from planning officers, Westminster City Council and numerous stakeholders in developing the final design. The result will be an outstanding building of extremely high quality." Paul Tebbit, BlackRock's UK real estate business.

"From the moment we were appointed on this outstanding project we knew that an exceptional design, befitting of its landmark location, would be of paramount importance. After holding a private competition, we appointed Adjaye Associates, who have just unveiled The Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, in Washington, D.C. We listened carefully to the feedback from planning officers and Westminster City Council, and the end result is, we believe, a truly outstanding building befitting this prestigious location." Co-founder and Creative Director at Alchemi Group, Laura Marino.

Where to buy near London's six key mainline stations

Estates Gazette - Homes and Property, 2 November 2016

Regeneration boom creates new homes hotspots from Liverpool Street to Paddington.

Previously undesirable areas near the capital's mainline train stations are undergoing ambitious regeneration, with swish new homes, good-looking shops and offices changing London's streets and skyline.

read more»

London’s mainline train station districts, already undergoing their biggest change since the great 19th-century railway boom, are in line for a further boost that will cement their position as sought-after hotspots for central city living.

The multibillion-pound transport and housing programme launched by Prime Minister Theresa May will include Crossrail 2 — the north-south link that will complement the east-west route opening in 2018 — along with a Bakerloo Tube line extension through suburban south London, with details expected to be announced in the Autumn Statement later this month.

Exclusive research for Homes & Property by estate agent eMoov shows prices in these areas have risen by up to 10 per cent more than the London average during the last five years. The rise is forecast to continue, as location and fast transport links are now a top priority for busy professionals seeking a short commute.

King’s Cross is not the only place where ambitious regeneration is transforming a previously undesirable or unglamorous area. Swish new homes, good-looking shops and offices are changing the streets and skyline at Paddington, Victoria, Waterloo, Euston, Liverpool Street and London Bridge.

Station districts went into serious decline in the mid-20th century, their tone set by seedy B&Bs, rough sleepers and drifters. But King’s Cross led the way and these fast-improving neighbourhoods are fashionable again.

1. London Bridge

Average price: £836,140

This station is being completely rebuilt as part of the £6.5 billion Thameslink railway project. What was a spillover location for City companies is now a business district in its own right, crowned by the Shard, a “vertical town” with more than 10,000 employees in this striking glass tower.

Remarkably, 30 acres of offices and commercial space have been created above the single acre of land on which the Shard is built.

Sellar Property Group, developer of the Shard, has drawn up plans for further tall buildings alongside London Bridge station. Shard Place, currently under way, is the first wholly residential block, offering 148 apartments in a 26-storey tower.

While the Shard has cemented the area’s new status, the regeneration challenge is to integrate the tower with a mainly small-scale area that includes medieval lanes and passageways. Redevelopment has involved cutting new viaducts through ancient Borough Market while at the same time improving street-level space for stallholders and shoppers.

Big and small apartment schemes are sprouting up in the hinterland behind the station. Snowsfields Yard has 28 boutique flats tucked away between an old mission hall and Victorian shopfronts. Crest, the developer, has packed in lots of space-creating, added-value design features including bay windows and big, usable terraces. Prices from £765,000 to £1.25 million. Call 020 3002 5453.

2. Paddington

Average price: £1,189,183

The Victorians built handsome garden squares and imposing stucco terraces on the acres between Isambard Kingdom Brunel’s Paddington terminus and Hyde Park. After the Second World War, many of the grand townhouses were converted into shabby bedsits and backpacker hotels and by the Seventies, Paddington had the fastest population turnover in London, a place of “bewildering cosmopolitanism”, according to author Peter Ackroyd.

Travellers passing through the station today are largely unaware of the redesigned 80-acre canal basin, once a closed-off industrial zone but now a boisterous urban area with outdoor entertainment in summer, opened up by new towpaths and footbridges.

The splendid original station has been given a major facelift and knitted into this enclave, while a showpiece new Crossrail station now nearing completion has triggered a fresh wave of development, making it the biggest regeneration scheme in Westminster borough. It covers an area the size of Soho and comprises 13 individual projects with oceans of office space and more than 4,000 new homes. Vastly improved public spaces include Sheldon Square, built around a grass amphitheatre that hosts the live music events in summer.

Scruffy Praed Street is getting a makeover, with new station entrances, a piazza and shopping parade, plus a stunning glass cube-shaped building of homes and offices designed by Shard architect Renzo Piano.

Property analyst JLL predicts prices in this microzone will increase by 15 per cent by 2020, more than the rest of London. Paddington Exchange is the latest new homes launch here, with 123 apartments in three linked pavilion buildings rising to 14 storeys. Prices from £975,000. Call developer Taylor Wimpey on 020 3376 6289.

3. Victoria

Average price: £1,717,529

Part of the prestigious SW1 postcode, Victoria station for decades delivered hordes of civil servants to the ministries in Whitehall, a soulless boulevard that was dead after they all went home at the end of the working day. However, the transformation today is nothing short of dramatic.

A £4 billion project is sweeping away the grey-slab office blocks, replacing them with human-scale homes and a theatre, while interesting shops are arriving in landscaped courtyards, passages and new squares.

The latest focus is a five-and-a-half-acre island site opposite the station. Called Nova, it has five fresh buildings including a block of 170 flats, plus new pedestrian links through to St James’s Park. Prices from £1,925,000. Call 020 7409 8756. And at 55 Victoria Street, a Sixties office block has been remodelled into 54 rental flats with a residents’ sky garden. Call 01246 223142.

Since 2009 prices in Victoria have jumped 88 per cent, more than any other “prime” London area.

4. Euston

Average price: £1,160,250

The Government’s backing for a new super-terminal at Euston to accommodate High Speed 2 paves the way for a complete redevelopment of the station. The tatty neighbourhood around it will be transformed into a lively quarter, barely half a mile from born-again King’s Cross/St Pancras where 50 new streets have been created.

The current unloved station, dating back to 1962, replaced the once-famous Euston Arch, a classical 1837 portico, which campaigners want reinstated as a spectacular monument. The available 15 acres of railway land is big enough for a Canary Wharf-size estate. Nearby Regent’s Park will set the property prices — but there are still pockets of good value near the station.

Check out Somers Town. When first developed in the late 18th century it was envisaged as a middle-class address but suffered when the London and Birmingham Railway cut through the area in the 1830s. Later it was mainly given over to council housing.

Another micro spot to watch is around Drummond Street, best known for curry restaurants, where gentrification has taken hold. Meanwhile, on the patch north of the station towards Mornington Crescent, a former Bhs branch is earmarked for redevelopment.

5. Liverpool Street

Average price: £930,037

The Great Eastern Railway’s first London terminus was at Shoreditch but Liverpool Street station was built in the 1870s to bring the line closer to the City.

Today it sits right on the boundary of those two buzzing places, both of which will be big beneficiaries of Crossrail trains stopping at the station and slashing journey times to Canary Wharf, central London and Heathrow. The Stage, on the Shoreditch side, has 412 homes on land where Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet and Henry V plays were first performed.

Archaeological remains of the original stage will be encased in glass as part of a new heritage centre with a 200-seat sunken amphitheatre. Show flats in refurbished railway arches are part of the 1.2-acre site. Prices from £695,000. Call 020 3770 2154.

6. Waterloo Average price: £836,140

Rejuvenation is coming to fruition in the quarter around Waterloo station, London’s busiest commuter hub and the UK’s largest, covering nearly 25 acres. The iconic Shell Centre has been transformed into 877 new homes called Southbank Place, with prices from £1,050,000. Call 020 7001 3600.

The station itself is getting an über-smart £1.3 billion refurbishment, while its disused Eurostar terminal is to be brought back to life for commuter services and possibly a retail mall. Elizabeth House, a Sixties eyesore that runs the length of the station along York Road, is to be replaced with 142 flats and offices, while boutique flats are being created along Lower Marsh, a lively 160-year-old street market.

Despite its growing cachet, Waterloo remains a good-value Zone 1 address, within the price range of many first-time buyers. It has a community feel and a colourful urban residential mix, with pretty Victorian terraces such as Roupell Street, charitable and church housing, cared-for council estates, boutique flats and sweeping waterfront apartments.

Valentine Place is a low-rise scheme of 42 flats and mews houses tucked away moments from the Old Vic and Young Vic theatres. Prices from £699,995. Call 020 3437 1294.

Property of the day

Country and Townhouse, 28 October 2016

A beautifully renovated Grade II listed development.

read more»

Leinster Square – Hudson Collection

11 of the prettiest townhouses on the market.

£6m to feel the love like Sting

London Evening Standard (Homes & Property), 26 October 2016

After 25 years, Sting and Trudie Styler, below prove celebrity marriages can stand the test of time. Their love story began in Leinster Square, Notting Hill, where musician Sting lived in one of the imposing stucco-fronted flats.

Actress and producer Styler lived two doors away. The pair bumped into each other and instantly hit it off.

read more»

Now The Hudson Collection, five elegantly restored lateral and triplex apartments at the couple's previous address, above are on the market. With three and four bedrooms, the flats boast many original features including Grade II-listed sash windows and wrought iron railings.

The bigger properties in the collection have private terraces while all have access to the private garden square. Prices start from £5,995,000 through Alchemi Group.

Where property imitates art

The Telegraph, 26 October 2016

There is a natural synergy between fine art and luxury property. They are both trophy assets the super-rich like to collect and both speak volumes about their owner’s taste and personality (unless you are the sort of HNWI who prefers to hand over your choice of art, along with the entire look of your home, to an interior designer).

High-end new developments these days often parade bespoke works in the foyer by famous artists or come with expansive wall space and “art-friendly windows”, as Christie’s International Real Estate puts it, to create gallery-like spaces for owners’ collections. Others try to create a sense of “placemaking” – particularly in regenerating areas that lack an established neighbourhood – by calling on the area’s artistic heritage to inspire the design and identity of the building.

read more»

But some developers take this synergy a step further, basing the design of their building or the spaces within it on one specific work of art.

Leinster Square:

The garden squares of W2 are proving fertile ground for developers – and their designers – to find inspiration from art. Leinster Square is a new development of five triplex apartments costing from £5.995m, set in a Grade II-listed building overlooking a Notting Hill garden square. The white stucco-fronted façade exudes Victorian grandeur. Inside, the design studio Alchemi has come up with a look that resonates with Notting Hillbillies’ love of colourful and expensively eclectic design.

At the forefront of Alchemi co-founder Laura Marino’s mind were Bridget Riley’s Curve paintings and Julian Opie’s cover for Blur’s Best Of album. “I was inspired by both artists’ bold use of colour and the graphic nature of their work and how modern and clean it is,” says Marino. “There is an optimism in their work and a joy in the exploration, dissection and simplifying of the fundamentals. They make the minimal have such presence,” she says.

Searching for art that had a “genuine sense of personality”, Marino has also used a mural wallpaper by Melissa White for Zoffany in the show home’s dining room, and the bedrooms display Donny Miller’s That’s All Folks! and Dream Mood by Miss Bugs. “The love and exuberance that motivated the artist adds to the character of the overall experience of the interior design of the home,” says Marino.

Leinster Square, W2

Sunday Times Home, 16 October 2016

The five three- and four-bedroom townhouses that make up the Hudson Collection, on an elegant garden square in Notting Hill fuse traditional and contemporary design.

read more»

They have between 2,688 sq ft and 3,683 sq ft of living space spread over three floors, with restored grade II listed Victorian details such as stucco facades, sash windows and wrought-iron railings.

The bathroom tiles are hand-glazed and there are hand-tufted bamboo carpets in the bedrooms.

USP Impeccable English style.

0207 298 1829, leinstersquarew2.com

All you need to know about the London property market

Hot Property, 7 October 2016

55VS, Victoria

Previously downplayed as a residential location, Victoria is undergoing a £4bn regernation, including a £700m overhaul of the London Underground and National Rail station by 2018.

read more»

This development by Alchemi Group is a collection of 57 one to four bedroom 'loft-style' flats and penthouses, some as big as 3,100 ft/2, with nearly 3 meter high ceilings south-facing views of Battersea Power Station and Southwark Cathedral. A communal courtyard garden and eighth floor 'sky garden' are also planned.

Property news, Extraordinary homes for sale in the capital

The Resident, 1 October 2016

Luxury conversion

A former hotel in Westbourne Grove has had new life breathed into it. The Alchemi Group and award-winning architects TateHindle, have converted the Grade II listed terrace in Leinster Square, W2, into 11 townhouses and lateral apartments. Overlooking a private garden square, the boutique development blends carefully restored period features with opulent finishes and spacious layouts. The principal lower floors have been refurbished as grand town homes, with the lateral apartments on the upper floors. Prices on application.

Property news - Extraordinary homes for sale in the capital

1 October 2016

Luxury conversion

A former hotel in Westbourne Grove has had new life breathed into it. The Alchemi Group and award-winning architects, TateHindle have converted the Grade II listed terrace in Leinster Square, W2 into 11 townhouses and lateral apartments.

read more»

Overlooking a private garden square, the boutique development blends carefully restored period features with opulent finishes and spacious layouts. The principal lower floors have been refurbished as grand town homes, with the lateral apartments on the upper floors. Prices on application.

Go West

London Property Magazine, 1 October 2016

The five triplex apartments in the stunning Hudson collection of homes at Leinster Square reflect the grandeur and prestige of Notting Hill's Victorian garden square architecture with Interiors that effortlessly fuse traditional and modern design providing an elegant home ideal for relaxation and entertainment. Ranging in size from 2,688 st. ft to 3,683 sq. ft and spread over three floors, these stunning three and four bedroom residences retain many of the original features including the Grade II listed sash windows, staircase and iron wrought railings that are archetypal of these properties.

read more»

The exclusive homes are superbly individual with each room radiating a distinct identity. The restored period finery including original Victorian panelling is offset by a selection of modern touches, including marble kitchens and a discreet wet bar in four of the triplexes, while three of the triplexes have basements providing the perfect space for a home gym. All triplexes feature external private terrace space which a buyer can transform into their own urban oasis. The show home demonstrates the possibilities, displaying lush green foliage and a limestone floor in a honed finish with Balinese pebble mosaic border.

Elegantly marrying traditional finishes with contemporary sensibilities, the interiors at Leinster Square's triplexes set new standards for luxury living. Designed by Alchemi's in house design team Studio L - London, each of the homes has a unique look and feel with the layout and design adapted for different buyer's lifestyles.

Entering through an elegant stucco-fronted facade with hounds tooth tiled porch and refurbished balcony ironmongery these homes reflect a sense of quintessential English style. Designed to adapt to modern lifestyle need, the grand reception rooms with high ceilings and original panelling have been designed in a bold, vibrant style with ample space for stylish dinner parties. Many of the homes also offer impressive entertainment rooms overlooking the beautiful garden square with original French doors leading to a classic Edwardian iron-wrought balcony. Understanding the needs of modern buyers, the homes also offer bespoke joinery, marble counters and Miele wine refrigerators.

The homes offer three and four bedroom suites, designed as a space for rest and relaxation. The master bedrooms are the epitome of grandeur and elegance, with high ceilings, original panelling and french windows that in one of the triplexes, lead to an 8 ft balcony overlooking the tranquil garden square. Homes in the rest of the collection open onto private courtyards with many offering floor to ceiling windows looking down to the basement courtyards.

All residents have exclusive access to the beautifully revitalised garden square by noted landscape architect, Laura De Beden. She has developed the garden design and, with the Leinster Square Gardens Association, is working with the RSPB and Royal Parks to make the garden more wildlife and bird friendly. Dating back to the mid-19th century the square boasts three fine plane trees and a varied selection of planting. The space also includes a wild flower meadow patch, especially planted to encourage wildlife and provide an attractive and tranquil space for residents. Residents of Leinster Square are further surrounded by greenery, from Notting Hill's tree lined avenues and garden squares to the open parkland of Hyde Park, Kensington Gardens and Holland Park.

Enjoying a zone 1 location, Leinster Square has excellent transport links with Bayswater underground station only five minutes' walk away and Queensway and Notting Hill Gate underground stations both only seven minutes' walk. The close proximity of Paddington station, offering journey times of 26 minutes to Heathrow airport via the Heathrow Express as well as the forthcoming Crossrail station when it opens in 2018, will give residents greater access to the West End with journey times of only 3 minutes to Bond Street and Canary Wharf in just 17 mins.

Leinster Square: The Hudson Collection is priced from £5,995,000 for more information visit www.leinstersquarew2.com or call Alchemi Group on 0207 499 3881

New homes next to Buckingham Palace:

Evening Standard, 22 September 2016

No 1 Palace Street is set to be London's poshest new address - where residents will boast the Queen as a neighbour

Royalwatchers can now live within 110 yards of Buckingham Palace thanks to several new prestigious housing developments. Take a tour of the new homes in the SW1 postcode, where residents boast the Queen as a neighbour...

read more»

A pocket of the prized SW1 postcode next to Buckingham Palace where history traditionally met power and culture is regaining its fashionable profile lost over the years.

If you are a royal watcher, a penthouse at one of several prestigious new housing developments within 110 yards or so of London's most famous address will bring a certain idiosyncratic rhythm to your day, as you see the Queen and her entourage come and go, and the Changing of the Guard.

The character of the once-aristocratic area immediately to the west of the Palace changed dramatically in the 20th century with the arrival of office blocks, while traffic jams and souvenir shops set the tone in Buckingham Palace Road.

Today, however, readily available permission to convert offices back into homes and more realistic pricing of property in posh central London are bringing quality homes with lower service charges to UK-based buyers, in a quarter re-emerging as fashionable.

On a corner site directly opposite the Palace and its 42-acre grounds is No 1 Palace Street, a new scheme of 72 flats. Originally built as a grand Victorian hotel in the Beaux-Arts style to host VIPs and royal guests, it later became government offices.

It is being restored to its former splendour by specialist property company Northacre.

The flats, with 16ft-high ceilings, will be completed in 2019. Prices from £2,145,000. Call 020 7349 8000.

Exquisite flats created behind a listed facade at 22 Buckingham Gate are a welcome change from the sanitised "international hotel" look of many high-end London developments. Once a warren of offices, this is now a collection of large, light homes.

The building has an internal glass-walled atrium providing private courtyards and terraces. The developer is Seastar, an Evening Standard New Homes Awards winner that specialises in niche projects. Here, it has used rich textural finishes and materials for a classic-contemporary feel.

Beyond the entrance lobby, there is direct lift entry to each flat, while a home-automation system allows remote control of lighting, heating and security.

With 999-year leases, prices range from £1,395,000 to £5.5 million - equating to £1,800 per square foot, half the price of the best homes in nearby Belgravia and St James's. The duplex penthouse boasts a view of Nelson's Column. Call 020 7664 6649.

Six vast luxury flats of up to 5,189sq ft are for sale at The Buckingham, a conversion of a historic listed townhouse, with interior design by David Collins Studio. Prices from £9,950,000. Call 020 7235 9959.

And coming soon is a 39-home Buckingham Gate scheme by boutique developer Artesian, another Evening Standard New Homes Awards winner.

In the pipeline

Grosvenor Gardens House, built in 1867, was then Britain's first serviced apartment block with shops at street level.

Having suffered waves of alterations as offices, it will again become a residential block, with concierge services provided by The Goring Hotel, the neighbouring luxurious establishment where the Duchess of Cambridge spent her last night as a single woman before marrying Prince William.

Another 16 flats are being created at 35 Old Queen Street, in the Birdcage Walk conservation area.

Victoria returns

Total regeneration of Victoria, spearheaded by the UK's largest commercial property company, is improving what has been a dull area. In 2002, Land Securities devised a masterplan to reinvent Victoria as a "lifestyle location".

The £2.2 billion project is now nearing completion. Having upgraded the high street with glass-clad Cardinal Place, a mix of shops, offices and flats, the company has switched its focus to a five-acre island site corralled by cars.

Called Nova, there are five fresh buildings including a block of 170 flats, plus new pedestrian links to Buckingham Palace and the Royal Parks. Prices from £1,925,000. Call 020 7409 8756.

Bye-Bye civil servants, hello creatives

This former "Civil Service land" is now a place where culture, commerce and creativity meet. The thriving St James Theatre is the first new theatre complex in central London for decades, while Channel 4 and fashion brands Burberry and Jimmy Choo have headquarters here.

When developer Alchemi acquired a concrete office block at 55 Victoria Street, it remodelled the building to create 54 open-plan loft-style flats with a lush sky garden. Prices from £1 million. Call Foxtons on 020 7973 2020.

Ten Broadway, better known as New Scotland Yard, is the next high-profile development, with six new buildings and 246 flats. Likely to follow this is Transport for London's listed HQ above St James's Park Tube station.

The Art Deco building featuring prized facade sculptures by Jacob Epstein and Henry Moore has planning permission for conversion into 89 flats.

As cool as marble

The Times, 2 September 2016

Laura Marino of Studio L has used marble throughout this bathroom in an apartment in the Leinster Square development in Notting Hill, West London

read more»

From the Taj Mahal to the Vatican, from Battersea Power Station to One Hyde Park, developers love marble. And the timeless classic isn't losing any of its allure, with interior designers enthused by polished limestone, whether it is on a kitchen counter or bathroom wall.

The height of sophistication is Calcutta (from the Italian region of Carrara) bookmatched marble - in which the patterns have been aligned to mirror each other. However, you don't need to splash out on an expensive splashback; there are other ways to incorporate the stone into your home.

QFB facelift for Leinster Square development in London

Gulf Times, 19 August 2016

Qatar First Bank (QFB) the and Alchemi Group have brought style and glamour back to the heart of London in their Leinster Square development, which offer properties starting at £3.95mn.

Gulf Times bad a glimpse of high-end living during a private tour of the recently completed Leinster Square development in West London in which QFB has a 40.5% stake.

read more»

Over the last four years, QFB has worked with the development manager, London-based Alchemi Group, to rebuild and restore the building to its former Victorian glory.

The 7-12 Leinster Square development consists of five luxury town homes over basement, lower ground, ground and first floor levels. The houses boast 3.5m floor-to-ceiling heights throughout the first floor, restored windows with French shutters and private terraces. Six lateral apartments are situated on upper levels overlooking the also newly redone garden square to provide 27,500sq ft of saleable space.

The development benefits from southerly views and access to a private garden square, very rare in central London.

Gulf Times was shown around one of the show home town houses which has also been decorated by Alchemi co-founder and creative director Laura Marino under her newly launched interior design company, Studio L, London.

Italian marbles, German kitchen fittings and appliances and bathroom fittings and furnishings by quintessentially English company Samuel Heath and internationally renowned Devon & Devon have been used for the project. Marino has worked closely throughout with English Heritage which ensures that restoration work on listed buildings is done in a way to preserve their unique character.

For the magnificent oak floors this meant keeping the exact layout of the original floorboards which entailed removing and marking each and every board in order to do the restoration and produce the exceptional quality seen today. This attention to detail is also evident in the fabulous staircase with restored balustrade and ironmongery and the exquisite corniches, which makes the property very special.

"I have tried to honour the Victorian era through traditional wood panelling and all the joinery with thicker wood doors and the ironmongery being unlacquered brass instead of nickel or chrome and the parquet flooring:' said Marino.

The sitting room is elegant, warm and welcoming. Marino has a very good eye for choosing furniture, fabrics and colour that seamlessly combine the modem with the traditional.

The dining room with wallpaper by Zoffany is spectacular and the kitchen with its white Macaubus work surfaces is absolutely top of the line.

The kitchen and dining room both benefit from a view out onto an innovative and charming two-storey lightwell 'garden' with lattice covered walls and abundant greenery, designed by Ginko Gardens who also did The Ivy Chelsea Garden.

Marino has taken a practical approach in wiring both the dining and sitting rooms in such a way that the family can decide how they want to utilise the spaces. They may, for example, prefer to the use the dining room as the family sitting room and the sitting room as a grand dining room.

The large amount of cupboard and storage space and the practical and well-designed utility room are among the other attractions.

In the townhouse the absolute 'wow' factor space is the master bedroom on the first floor with its sweeping view over the leafy Leinster Square garden. Gulf Tunes was also shown around a lateral 4th floor apartment, another show home, which had a stunning living room with views over the garden and a magnificent kitchen.

The kitchens throughout the development, all bathed in natural light, have been shortlisted for best residential kitchen of a value over £50,000 by Design et al for The International Design and Architecture Awards. To date 75% of the apartments have been sold and the town homes have just been launched to market.

Alchemi Group projects in this years' IDA&A Awards

Design et al, 3 August 2016

Voting is now open for the International Design and Architecture Awards.

Alchemi Group are thrilled two have two interior design projects in the running for this year's awards. Voting has opened here. Click to be directed to the full list of listed projects and congratulations to all the entrants!

5 minutes with Laura Marino

design et al, 1 August 2016

Tell us a little about your background in design (education, experience, etc)

I studied communication design which is, in a nutshell, being traditionally trained in the arts, and then learning to apply the ideas and design knowledge to a strategic, marketing frame of mind. After college, worked on freelance as an illustrator for local papers and magazines alongside graphic design for many small companies. I got my first real "professional" job at a subsidiary for Grey Advertising then started Alchemi after 6 and a half years in the corporate world.

read more»

How would you describe your personal interior design style?

Ever changing. I feel that if you put in what you truly love, it will work no matter the context and will be always timeless. I think I'm both bold and subtle with a strong emphasis on craftsmanship and details. I like strong forms, pattern, texture and colour, but heavily and thoughtfully edited. On a small scale it looks busy but step back a bit and its surprising how uncluttered and harmonious the design concepts are. I love a home to feel like a home.

Where does your design inspiration come from?

My family. My father's family are so creative with innate good taste. My Aunt Patti would create stained glass mirrors, wood carved ornaments, papier mache lamps and other decorative items that are beautiful and that I still have now. My Mother was always so creative growing up. We used to bake, she sewed and did amazing craft projects for every holiday! She always included me as her helper. As a result I always had a creative outlet from a very young age. She instilled everything I know and believe about what it means to pay attention to detail. She is painstaking in her diligence and thoroughness. She used to say, "if you're going to do something, do it right." I've yet to meet anyone as exacting. She puts most people to shame and she's one of the most humble people I know.

In what direction do you feel that design is moving towards in a general sense?

Craftsmanship, colour, playing with pattern, mixing metals. I think the recession had a huge influence on what people are looking for now. People are looking for places that feel more like homes: more tangible, less overtly bling, less bland, more unique. Real estate is so expensive and the world is a much smaller and more fickle place, so places that stand out and make a person feel at home but also has a voice of its own amongst the masses are highly coveted.

Name a key theme to consider when approaching design in 2016 and beyond.

Buy and invest in what resonates with you. Don't be bothered by trends.

If you could offer one piece of advice when it comes to interior design schemes, what would it be?

I'm not sure I have advice, who am I to say what is and isn't right? Your intuition knows. When I don't trust an idea, I'm very hard on myself because I know better. When you know better you do better. From a technical perspective, proportion and curation are extremely important factors in a room and good design stems from those basic concepts.

What projects are you currently working on?

Three show homes - one townhouse in your Leinster Square project, one apartment in our 55 Victoria Street project and I am finishing up another apartment in our Westbourne House project. We're also going to be launching a separate design studio as a subsidiary to Alchemi: Studio L. Plus, the creation of our current developments in 5 Strand and in Nine Elms and a few others in Victoria.

What are your aims and goals for the next twelve months?

To launch a new studio, sell our homes, create a cohesive, collaborative studio with a unique approach and improve upon our body of work.

Final thoughts; tell us a little more about yourself:

Your most treasured possession?

A 1950's wind-up musical dancing Santa from my childhood that endlessly fascinated me growing up.

Your favourite holiday destinations?

Oia in Santorini and Anguilla

Your favourite hotel/restaurant/bar?

Hotel for service Las Ventans in Mexico and decor, The Greenwich Hotel in NYC, for everything - Gramercy Tavern in NYC and Bob Bob Ricard in London which makes me happy and feel indulgent. Bar - The Blind Pig in London, The Ear Inn in NYC.

Your favourite book/film/song?

Book - Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll and Use Me by Elissa Schappell. Film - Children of Men, Donnie Darko and Dazed and Confused come to mind immediately. Song - There are too many!!! 5 Years by Bowie, Woman by John Lennon and recently the Janet Jackson cover by Natalie Prass — Any time, Any place"

Your favourite food and drink?

Toss up between Pizza and French Fries. Drinks is a Hendricks and Tonic with Cucumber.

Your favourite way to spend an afternoon?

Reading or being with good friends and family having a laugh.

If you weren't a designer, what would you be?

I always to be a rock star but if that didn't pan out, a psychologist.

Lofty Living

9fi5th, 23 June 2016

Not far from the quintessentially British monument Big Ben, there lies a touch of the Big Apple. That's right, a tinge of New York has been brought to the Capital by the nifty hands of development team, Alchemi Group.

Dynamic duo Laura Marino and Charlie Baxter head up Alchemi Group and currently manage a portfolio of circa 800 million [GBP] in real estate assets, which is ever expanding. Known for a strong design sense and boutique residential development specialisation, each Alchemi project is undertaken according to extensive research and consideration of its context, with design detail that goes far beyond the industry norm.

Click here to catch the full piece in this June's 9fi5th magazine.

The Design Alchemist

Glam Interiors and Design, 11 May 2016

Creative Director Laura Marino is profiled in Glam Interiors and Design, Qatar, in their April 2016 issue.

Click here to catch the full piece in this month's issue.

Alchemi Group Creative Director Laura Marino profiled

International Design and Architecture Awards, 5 May 2016

Creative Director Laura Marino has been profiled by Design et al for Alchemi Group's shortlisting in the International Design and Architecture Awards.

Click here to read the full interview to learn more about Laura's design inspiration and process.

Dream Development

Absolutely Magazine , 25 April 2016

"A luxurious two bedroom apartment set within the award winning Westbourne House, an iconic development of 20 apartments designed by renowned architects Stiff + Trevillion..."

Click here to catch the full piece in this month's issue.

A day at the office

&London Magazine , 13 April 2016

Excerpt:

According to Charlie Baxter, Managing Director of Alchemi Group, the trend [for office to resi conversions] has been fantastic for buyers. "The good thing about converting an office building is that you get much better floor-to-ceiling heights and original features that add character," he says. Alchemi's 55VS in Victoria offers loft-style apartments that 2.9m-high ceilings. "You just can't get that in a new-build in central London."

Read the full piece in April &London Magazine.

INTERVIEW: Alex de Blonay of Pure DNA on building luxury property brands

PrimeResi, 1 April 2016

"I think the next generation of luxury property brands to hit the market are the ones that excite me the most. I am particularly excited to see the redevelopment of the Old War Office buildings which will undoubtedly change the face of this part of London. I am also really excited by the redevelopment of the American Embassy. The iconic nature of the building and the opportunity to give this prestigious square a pumping heart open to the public will be formidable. The Lodha scheme on Grosvenor Square is also very clever and differentiated because of who they have on-board to create the product but also who they are targeting it at. I am also anticipating great things with the Alchemi scheme on 5 Strand. Between them and David Adjaye, there are some exciting and differentiated developments which will revive this side of St James'."

Click here to read the full interview.

Case Study Video: 55 Victoria Street

1 March 2016

55 Victoria Street (55VS) is a stunning new development in the heart of Victoria. C.P. Hart's Contracts team collaborated with the award-winning Alchemi Group, a coupling that has previously undertaken a number of successful projects together, to create luxury bathrooms for this New York loft-style development, and the results are nothing short of spectacular.

C.P. Hart worked closely with Laura Marino, Creative Director at Alchemi, to design master and secondary bathrooms that reflect 55VS' impeccable finish and unique character. Wetstyle basin units were paired with Dornbracht's iconic Tara brassware in a contemporary black finish, while polished marble wall tiles provided the perfect backdrop for classically sculpted pieces from Lefroy Brooks.

To find out more about this exciting project from Laura, and to hear the thinking behind the striking designs, watch our video here.

Alchemi Group Shortlisted in two categories for IDA&A Awards

23 February 2016

Alchemi Group has been shortlisted in two categories for the 2016 International Design and Architecture Awards for Interior Design. The categories are for bathroom specification as well as kitchen design over 50,000 GBP. Westbourne House and Leinster Square were nominated respectively, a fantastic achievement for our in-house Design team.

You can read more about Westbourne House in this month's issue of Design et al, available here.

Click here to read the full shortlist, and congratulations to all the teams rewarded for their beautiful and groundbreaking work in design!

Alchemi Group moves into new Aldwych Quarter offices

22 February 2016

Today Alchemi Group took up residence in its new offices at Melbourne House in Aldwych Quarter.

The move represents a new chapter for the Group and showcases much of the growth achieved in recent years. From a team of just 6 in 2004, Alchemi Group now numbers over 20, and is handling larger and more challenging development projects. The design of the office was conceptualised by Creative Director Laura Marino, and brought to life by the in-house Design and Operations departments.

How C.P. Hart partnered Alchemi Group to create luxury bathrooms for a loft-style development in London

Showhouse, 25 January 2016

The quality of the bathrooms – in planning, design and product – is increasingly a yardstick for measuring the stature and desirability of a development. A prime residential development in Victoria with views of Westminster, Green Park and Nine Elms calls for an original interior scheme with a superior finish. Laura Marino, Creative Director at Alchemi Group, rose to the challenge and created 57 original apartments that offer a subtle nod to New York loft-style living. Read the full piece in this month's Showhouse.

Stiff + Trevillion shortlisted for BD Awards

21 January 2016

Stiff + Trevillion have been shortlisted for the Building Design Architect of the Year Awards, the the refurbishment category. Their entry included their work on Westbourne House, which won Best Overall Development UK/Europe at the International Design and Architecture Awards last year.

Click here to read the full shortlist, and congratulations to all the nominees!

Find a snapshot of New York living in luxury loft pads in Westminster

The Wharf, 14 December 2015

Developers hope to create a pocket of New York inspired urban living with a collection of 15 loft-style homes at 55VS.

All of the apartments within The Alchemi Group's new Platinum Collection New York Meets London portfolio, in Westminster, feature a private balcony or vast terrace allowing buyers to soak up scenes of the London skyline from their location at 55 Victoria Street.

Click here to read the full article.

Alchemi goes down the Strand

Estates Gazette, 14 November 2015

BlackRock has appointed Alchemi Group as development manager for 5 Strand, WC2. The company will work with Adjaye Associates on the 75,000 sq ft, 1980s office building, which is currently home to Land Securities.

Weaving Style into fabric of Westbourne Grove

Evening Standard, 11 November 2015

A stylish office-to-residential development in Westbourne Grove, where Notting Hill meets Bayswater, helps blur the borderline with 20 new flats, including a penthouse offering 360-degree views.

Developer Alchemi Group has used intricate bronzed balustrading on the exterior, evoking the textile weaving patterns of the famous William Owen Linen Draper shop which once stood on the site. The group has won an international design award for its efforts.

Called Westbourne House, above, there is also 24-hour concierge and underground parking. Prices start at 2,335,000. Call 020 7087 5111.

Alchemi and Adjaye get to work on 5 Strand

PrimeResi, 10 November 2015

Investment manager BlackRock UK has brought in renowned architect David Adjaye OBE and high-end residential specialist Alchemi Group to come up with a plan for its landmark project overlooking Trafalgar Square, 5 Strand.

Click here to read the full article.

Image courtesy of Adjaye Associates

Laura Marino on Alchemi Group's Inspirational Designs

Absolutely Notting Hill, 1 November 2015

Meet the visionary behind Westbourne House.

Instrumental to Alchemi Group's success is the vision and design acumen it brings to each project. This boutique central London developer has, over the last 16 years, built an impressive reputation from its design-led approach to all of its projects, especially turning neglected or redundant mixed-use buildings in a diverse range of stylish dwellings.

Click here to read the full article or catch the November edition of Absolutely Notting Hill.

Alchemi wins bid on Nine Elms tower scheme

PrimeResi, 8 October 2015

Alchemi Group has just landed a prominent mixed-use scheme in Nine Elms.

The Grand South site at 12-20 Wyvil Road has planning for a 36-sotrey development involving resi, commercial and office space over a total GIA of 305,167 square feet. The resi element provides for 175 residences ranging from one-beds to duplex penthouses.

Read more at the link here.

Alchemi Group acquires 36-storey tower scheme in Nine Elms

Property Week, 8 October 2015

Alchemi Group co-founder and managing director Charlie Baxter said: "We see huge potential to add value to the existing planning consent on thus site.

"There is so much happening in Nine Elms, including the opening of the new U.S. Embassy and the New Covent Garden redevelopment, already underway. It's great to be part of the momentum."

Read more at the link here.

Westbourne House wins at International Design and Architecture Awards

28 September 2015

Westbourne House was awarded Best Overall Development at the 2015 International Design and Architecture Awards, which highlights the best in design from across the globe. The building, consisting of 20 luxury apartments, was designed by Stiff + Trevillion and recently completed.

The International Design and Architecture Awards ceremony took place at the The Hurlingham Club, London, on Friday 25th September, hosted by the leading UK interior Design magazine, design at al. This major international competition attracts entries from across the globe and the winners were chosen through online votes made by industry professionals, design et al readers, clients and customers.

Click here to read the full list of winners.

Alchemi shortlisted as Residential Company of the Year by the Estates Gazette

18 September 2015

We are thrilled to announce that Alchemi Group has been shortlisted for the 2015 Estates Gazette Awards in the Residential Company of the Year category!

Click here to read the full shortlist, and sincere and hearty congratulations to all the nominees.

Qatar First Bank's Westbourne House development offers stylish London living

Gulf Times, 9 September 2015

Qatar First Bank (QFB) is seeing the tangible results of its investment in an elegant development in the Bayswater area of West London. Westbourne House, in Westbourne Grove, comprises 20 luxury apartments, including a stunning split-level penthouse with 360 degree views from its 1,386 square foot terrace.

Click here to read the full story.

Alchemi liberates Victoria block

Estates Gazette, 12 August 2015

News of Alchemi Group's sale of Great Minster North was reported in the Estates Gazette, highlighting their great success in obtaining planning consent for the building, which was instrumental in achieving a 33% IRR.

The full text of the article can be viewed online via subscription to the Estates Gazette, or in the August 8, 2015 print edition.

Alchemi Group sells prime 180,613 sq ft landmark building in Westminster

Press Release, 10 August 2015

Prime Central London development expert, Alchemi Group has announced the sale of its 180,613 sq ft (NIA) landmark property, Great Minster North (GMN), to funds of Brockton Capital LLP. read more»

Prime Central London development expert, Alchemi Group has announced the sale of its 180,613 sq ft (NIA) landmark property, Great Minster North (GMN), to funds of Brockton Capital LLP.

Located at 33 Horseferry Road, Victoria, the building was originally acquired in October 2013. Within 14 months of the purchase, Alchemi Group had sought and obtained planning permission for residential development use.

Under the consent granted in December 2014, the plans allow for the existing GMN building to be demolished and a new development built to create 160 homes, plus improved retail units along the ground floor, 97 parking spaces and amenity areas including gym and swimming pool.

The sale delivers Alchemi’s investors a remarkable 33% leveraged IRR. The Corporate transaction equated to a sale value of circa £137 million.

Charlie Baxter, Managing Director and co – founder of Alchemi Group commented, “The purchase of Great Minster North by Alchemi Group was a strategic move to maximize this asset’s value. Over a two year period, we have been able to achieve planning consent and prepare the building for onward sale, making it an attractive proposition to investors."

Alchemi Group has actively invested in the Victoria, SW1, area over the last five years, recognizing the huge potential offered by ongoing local regeneration. The excellent transport links, greatly enhanced shops and restaurants, and expansive residential redevelopment in progress, have together acted as a catalyst to unlock what has been a previously undervalued highly central London location. Savills UK Research report on Westminster, published in June, is forecasting that prices in the prime London market will rise by 22.7% over the next five years to the end of 2019.

As part of the Group’s long-term strategy, Alchemi will continue to proactively seek acquisitions to grow their existing portfolio delivering value and growth to their current and future investors.

Ends

Notes to editors: Alchemi Group has been creating distinguished residences in central London since 1999 and has earned a reputation for being a boutique central London developer with a strong design vision.

They specialise in turning mixed-use buildings into a diverse range of stylish dwellings. The best developments are a result of an intimate understanding of location, current market and trends, and purchaser profile. By sticking to these fundamentals, Alchemi Group delivers outstanding value for money for both investor and end-user.

Alchemi Group creates residences that have a unique voice based on the building, its location and history and collaborate closely with their architects to ensure they provide both practical and beautiful living spaces.

Alchemi at a glance: • Established in 1999 • Creator of design-led buildings • Develops luxury real estate in Prime Central London • Manages a current portfolio in excess of £700 million in Central London real estate assets • Builds on repeat business from satisfied investors

Media Enquiries Claire Lalaguna at Satellite MPR + + 44 (0)1394 411 984 / 07973 314 594 claire@satellitempr.com

Smart Moves, Luxury Homes & Property

Evening Standard, 1 July 2015

Westbourne House has been featured in Right Moves in the Evening Standard, as well as the Luxury section of their Homes & Property site, highlighting the extraordinary opportunities for both homeowners and investors in the Bayswater area.

It is very rewarding to be amongst the many teams and developers restoring this historic area to its former grandeur and beauty. The history of the site itself, as one of the shops of a contemporary and friendly competitor of Whiteleys (now set to undergo a beautiful renovation of its own) was a major inspiration for its design. It is immensely gratifying to see that design vision coming to life.

Click here to read the article.

Residential Gold

9fi5th Magazine , 18 June 2015

“Pioneers in converting offices to very swish residential developments, [Alchemi Group] have that Midas touch, and in London’s buoyant property market you need to move fast to snaffle up one of their gems."

Alchemi Group has been featured in the first London edition of 9fi5th magazine. An interview with co-founders Charlie Baxter and Laura Marino highlights the incredible milestones the Alchemi team has achieved in Westbourne Grove, Leinster Square, and Victoria.

With completion on our landmark development of Westbourne House currently on track for July 2015, and the redevelopment of Whiteleys setting new benchmarks for the Queensway and Bayswater areas, it’s an exciting time to be developing in W2.

World Interiors Day 2015

1 June 2015

Saturday was World Interiors Day, celebrating the best in interior and architecture design. We enjoyed the many stories focusing on design from the day, and were proud to participate in the international conversation.

Why? Because design matters.

What truly sets Alchemi Group apart from many developers is our commitment to being design-led. Each of our developments is wholly unique, with a narrative and style all its own. We pull from an area’s history and each building’s past to craft a design vision that you will not find in any other development in central London.

We don’t use good finishes and fixtures; we use the best, and work hard to source them. In fact, members of our design team have made a number of recent trips to Italy and Spain to source marbles for our 55VS and 7-12 Leinster Square projects. While there they reviewed hundreds of slabs to hand select the individual ones that would go into the developments.

It’s that personal attention to detail that turns a beautiful space into a truly one-of-a-kind residence.

London takes a bite of the Big Apple

The Telegraph , 22 May 2015

Creative Director Laura Marino was quoted in The Telegraph property weekend supplement, describing the influence that New York loft industrial lofts are currently having on property development in London. Speaking about 55VS, “It’s about combining the London look—sophisticated, serious and sharp—with the New York feel, which is tactile, casual."

The Platinum Collection at 55VS launches overseas with Sotheby's International Realty

8 May 2015

Alchemi Group is celebrating the successful overseas launch of the Platinum Collection of 55VS, London Victoria, in partnership with Sotheby’s International Realty.

A presentation tour of these exclusive, luxury level apartments and penthouses kicked off in Dubai last month and ended in Doha last week. These events formally launched this stunning development’s exclusive, high-end units, which introduce loft style living into the heart of Victoria, London.

Each unit of the Platinum Collection features magnificent windows and ceiling heights, all of which frame some of the city’s most iconic views. With a focus on spacious floor plans and a high-end, truly bespoke design vision, it is an unprecented project for the area.

With 70% of the building already sold or reserved, 55VS has helped to establish Victoria as a new go-to destination for property buyers. Its unique position in Westminster, with travel hubs, cultural, and lifestyle locations right on the doorstep has clearly appealed to both local and overseas purchasers looking to live and invest in London.

55VS is in the last year of its construction, with a phased completion beginning in October of 2015. A show flat will be available to view by appointment in late summer of 2015.

Bayswater reclaims its crown

6 May 2015

Leinster Square, our project restoring a beautiful listed terrace to its Victorian glory, including the garden square it faces, has been featured in The Evening Standard amongst London's "hot spots" for property in 2015.

Click here to read the full piece.

55VS Topping Out

13 April 2015

This month we celebrated the Topping Out of 55VS, marking the completion of the supporting structure of the building. Our Directors and several VIP guests participated in the ceremony, before a reception was held for all the team members making this groundbreaking development possible. We were thrilled to celebrate this momentous achievement with our colleagues.

The RESI Awards Shortlist 2015

27 February 2015

Alchemi Group has been shortlisted for the 2015 RESI awards for Small Developer of the Year.

Full 2015 Shortlist

Property of the week

Telegraph Property, 21 February 2015

Location: Leinster Square, W2

Guide price: From £4.25m

Agent: Knight Frank (0207 861 5499; knightfrank.co.uk)

Count the days until June when Alchemi Group unveils its restoration of six Grade II listed houses. The apartments and town houses will retain their beautiful 1860s facades.

All of them overlook the garden square. Quite possibly the key to happiness is the one that opens the garden gate.

Pendulum swings against offices in West End

Property Week, 13 February 2015

The trend for office-to-residential conversions has upset the balance and left the West End short of office space.

Great Minster North Proposal

The site at Great Minster North was given planning approval for residential development but could still end up as offices.

On the surface, a stroll around the leafy squares of Soho and Mayfair suggests not much has changed in the past five years, but a look behind the Georgian façades reveals a different story. These terraces, which until recently were home to offices housing hundreds of businesses, are increasingly being returned to residential use.

read more»

London’s love affair with luxury housing has proved controversial for all kinds of reasons, but the West End office occupier is one victim of the capital’s super-prime housing boom that is often overlooked.

The race to populate the West End with luxury flats could reasonably be painted as a modern-day gold rush. One Hyde Park set the high-water mark with values exceeding £10,000/sq ft, but many other schemes have attracted valuations approaching that level. Even developers previously unversed in residential development have found temptation difficult to resist.

The upshot is that office availability has been driven to historic lows.

“Vacancy rates are about 3.5%. That’s low; it’s almost worryingly low," says Simon Tann, partner at specialist London consultancy Levy. “A healthy pipeline would be 6.5%-7.5%. Once you get to levels like 3.5% you’re in danger of not supplying enough quality accommodation and that really drives rents up."

Alchemi Group to sell prime 300,000 sq ft development site in Westminster

AG Press Release, 26 January 2015

Design-led London development expert, Alchemi Group has broken new ground with its plan to sell a 300,000 sq ft (GEA) development—renamed The City & Liberty Buildings—at 33 Horseferry Road, Victoria, SW1.

Currently comprising the office building Great Minster North (GMN), the site was bought in October 2013 for £97.5 million, and will go on the market shortly with agent LEVY Real Estate guiding offers over £150 million. Managed by Alchemi Group, the proposed development was recently approved unanimously at planning committee pending the signing of the Section 106 Agreement, opening a number of exciting mixed-use opportunities for the property.

read more»

Charlie Baxter, Managing Director and co – founder of Alchemi Group: “The purchase of Great Minster North gave Alchemi Group the opportunity to demonstrate our ability to effectively asset manage, as well as showcase our proven record as a residential developer. From the moment we first saw this building, we recognized its wonderful potential to create a cutting edge mixed-use development. With a tenant in situ, we had the opportunity to explore increasing the values, in rents and also as both a potential office development as well as a residential development.

We’re delighted to present this incredible opportunity in the heart of Victoria, one of the most rapid and exciting growth stories in central London."

The current building (GMN) contains 180,000 sq ft of high quality offices arranged over basement, ground (with 17,200 sq ft of retail) and five upper floors and is let to the Department for Transport. The plans allow for the GMN building to be demolished and a new development built to create 160 homes. Renamed The City & Liberty Buildings, the new development comprises two new private residential buildings providing 122 apartments, with a third building at the west of the site offering 38 affordable homes. The plans also include improved retail units along the ground floor, 97 parking spaces and amenity areas such as a gym and an indoor pool which, in the summer months, opens onto the generous communal garden.

The design for City & Liberty takes a bold look towards Victoria’s existing mansion blocks, which are commonly arranged around elegant courtyard entrances. The site was divided into two nine storey blocks, connected by a striking central entrance and courtyard garden space designed by award winning European landscape architects GROSS.MAX. The new design breaks up the existing monolithic structure and allows sunlight to penetrate onto Horseferry Road. The exterior is a dynamic and modern reinterpretation of the local brick and faience architecture that characterizes Victoria.

Co-founder and Creative Director at Alchemi Group, Laura Marino: “We always design our developments in response to the context and history of each individual site. When we were researching the area, we found out that the development sits in the medieval government area known as “The City & Liberty of Westminster." We felt it was perfect. Originally under the control of Westminster Abbey, it was a separate administrative area, governed after the Dissolution of the Monasteries by the Westminster Court of Burgesses until 1900 and the creation of the Metropolitan Borough of Westminster."

Planning permission was granted by Westminster City Council in a unanimous vote in December 2014, with the Committee commenting favourably on City &Liberty’s “exemplary design." A quality further highlighted when the project, designed with architects Stiff + Trevillion, was shortlisted for the prestigious international World Architecture News Residential Award.

Co-founder and Creative Director at Alchemi Group, Laura Marino: “City & Liberty is an example of strategy, creativity and technical skill coming together to achieve a design tailored to its surroundings; a design that is both architecturally strong and commercially viable."

Alchemi brews £150m SW1 sale

Estates Gazette, 23 January 2015

Alchemi Group is capitalising on the surging Victoria market by hoisting a for sale sign over a £400m luxury residential development opportunity.

Boutique housebuilder Alchemi has appointed Levy Real Estate to seek offers over £150m – a 4% yield – for the government-let Great Minster North office building on Horseferry Road, SW1.

In a sign of strong demand for redevelopment stock in the area and rising values, the price is more than 50% above the £97.5m Alchemi paid for the building in autumn 2013.

Planning consent is now in place to convert the 1990s block into a 300,000 sq ft Stiff & Trevillion-designed 160-home scheme called City and Liberty.

read more»

Based on IPD figures of £2,000 per sq ft for residential values in Victoria, coupled with the car park and retail space, the scheme could have a GDV of almost £400m.

The 180,000 sq ft block is let to the Department for Transport until December 2018 at a rent of £6.2m pa. Buyers could also look at undertaking an office revamp.

Alchemi managing director Charlie Baxter said: “From the moment we first saw this building, we recognised its wonderful potential to create a cuttingedge mixed-use development. With a tenant in situ we had the opportunity to explore increasing the values in rents and also as a potential office development as well as a residential development."

Investment in Victoria almost doubled from £800m in 2013 to £1.5bn last year, according to local agent Tuckerman.

Sensitive Restoration

Interior Design today, 19 January 2015

TateHindle receives planning consent for £20+ million residential conversion of Grade-II listed Notting Hill hotel.

Inspired by design led, London development experts Alchemi Group, TateHindle's proposals for 13-19 Leinster Square in London's Notting Hill will now ensure the sensitive restoration of the seven existing, stuccfronted terrace buildings into five stylish townhouses and ten elegant, lateral apartments, totalling approximately 4665m2 (50,000ft2).

read more»

The proposal is the second of a two-phase redevelopment of 7-19 Leinster Square, in collaboration with Alchemi Group to restore the terrace of properties to the original residential usage. The external envelope of the existing buildings will remain, for the most part, unchanged save for much needed and unobtrusive restoration works.

The most significant alterations are the addition of a new basement level, the internal reconfiguration of the current hotel layouts, and the introduction of sunken roof terraces and roof plant area into the new mansard roof.

The highlights of the proposed works are as follows:

The Grade II listed terrace is to be restored to its original residential usage creating new high quality family homes.

Sensitive wholesale renovation of the dilapidated principal facade is proposed to restore the terrace to its former glory.

Sympathetic rationalisation and refurbishment of the rear of the terrace will greatly improve the outlook from neighbouring buildings whilst creating vital external amenity space at lower levels.

A comprehensive internal refurbishment will restore much of the original internal plan form as well as reinstate original features throughout the building.

Alchemi to build homes in Westminster

Property Week, 3 December 2014

Alchemi Group has been granted planning permission to build 160 homes on the site of 33 Horseferry Road in Westminster.

The 281,000 sq ft site will comprise two private residential blocks, with 122 apartments in total, and a third building providing 38 affordable homes at the west of the site.

read more»

Alchemi is working with architects Stiff + Trevillion on the scheme.

Laura Marino, co-founder and creative director at Alchemi, said: 'The current building wasn't an obvious choice for residential conversion due its depth and internal arrangements, nor was it environmentally efficient. Therefore a new-build scheme was the preferred route for the design.

'By splitting the site into three distinct buildings, S+T were able to create floor plans that met Westminster's requirements and create necessary public amenity in a development of this scale."

Alchemi to build homes in Westminster

Prime Residential, 3 December 2014

Alchemi Group has been granted planning permission to 160 homes on the site of 33 Horseferry Road in Westminster.

The 281,000 sq ft site will comprise two private residential blocks, with 122 apartments in total, and a third building providing 38 affordable homes at the west side of the site.

read more»

Alchemi is working with architects Stiff + Trevillion on the scheme.

Laura Marino, co-founder and creative director at Alchemi, said: “The current building wasn’t an obvious choice for residential conversion due its depth and internal arrangements, nor was it environmentally efficient. Therefore a new-build scheme was the preferred route for the design.

“By splitting the site into three distinctive buildings, S + T were able to create floor plans that met Westminster’s requirements and create necessary public amenity in a development of this scale."

Alchemi Group achieves planning consent for £20+ million residential conversion of Grade-II listed hotel on behalf of Angelo Gordon and Co

AG Press release, 12 November 2014

Design-led London development experts Alchemi Group have secured planning consent for a £20+ million restoration of 13-19 Leinster Square in London’s Notting Hill. The development will provide spacious accommodation totalling approximately 4665m2 (50,000ft2), comprising five stylish townhouses and ten elegantly laid out lateral apartments.

read more»

Charlie Baxter, Managing Director and co – founder of Alchemi Group: “Following on from our restoration of 7-12 Leinster Square, being completed with different investors, this is the second hotel to residential conversion that Alchemi Group has had the pleasure of managing. Together, these projects give us the opportunity to convert almost an entire side of this Grade II listed square into stunning homes, creating another level of residential grandeur for Notting Hill."

Co-founder and Creative Director at Alchemi Group, Laura Marino: “The design for 13-19 aims to provide the best in terms of style, value and quality. The internal finishes enhance the heritage elements of the restoration, blending them seamlessly with the necessities of modern living."

Working with TateHindle, the architect behind the conversion of Grade I listed Cornwall Terrace as well as Alchemi’s refurbishment at 7-12 Leinster Square , Alchemi Group will sensitively refurbish the seven existing, stucco fronted terrace buildings, previously The Umi Hotel, into bespoke, design-savvy, practical homes.

Subsequent to the purchase from The Lowy Group on Christmas Eve 2013, by an entity belonging to Angelo Gordon and Co, Alchemi Group was appointed as Development Manager for the conversion and renovation of 13-19 Leinster Square, W2. The project will start on site early 2015 with a provisional completion date of mid-2016.

Alchemi hotel-to-resi conversion approved

The Property Week, 12 November 2014

Alchemi Group has been granted planning permission for the £20m conversion of of a Notting Hill hotel for residential use.

Alchemi is the development partner of Angelo Gordon and Co, which acquired the hotel at 13-19 Leinster Square in 2013 from the Lowy Group.

read more»

The redevelopment will create five townhouses and ten apartments totalling 50,000 ft/2.

Charlie Baxter, managing Director and co-founder of Alchemi, said:

"Following on from our restoration of 7-12 Leinster Square, being completed with different investors, this is the second hotel to residential conversion that Alchemi Group has had the pleasure of managing. Together, these projects give us the opportunity to convert almost an entire side of this Grade II listed square into stunning homes, creating another level of residential grandeur for Notting hill."

Construction will begin in early 2015 to be completed by mid-2016."

Alchemi group gains planning consent for £20+ million residential conversion of Grade-II listed hotel on behalf of Angelo Gordon and Co

architects datafile, 12 November 2014

Design-led London development experts, Alchemi Group has secured planning consent for a £20+ million restoration of 13-19 Leinster Square in London's Notting Hill. The development will provide spacious accommodation totalling approximately 46654 m2 (50,000 ft/2), comprising five stylish townhouses and ten elegantly laid out lateral apartments.

read more»

Co-founder and Creative Director Laura Marino:

"The design for 13-19 aims to provide the best in terms of style, value and quality. The internal finishes enhance the heritage elements of the restoration, blending them seamlessly with the necessities of modern living."

Working with TateHindle, the architect behind the conversion of Grade I listed Cornwall Terrace, Alchemi Group will sensitively refurbish the seven existing , stucco fronted terrace buildings, previously The Umi Hotel, into bespoke, design-savvy, practical homes.

The project will start on site early 2015 with a provisional completion date of mid-2016.

Leinster Square Townhouses and Apartments

e-architect, 12 November 2014

Location: 13-19 Leinster Square, Notting Hill, London

Design: TateHindle

Westminster planning consent granted for a £20+ million residential conversion of Grade-II listed Notting Hill hotel.

read more»

Inspired by design led, London development experts Alchemi Group, TateHindle's proposals for 13-19 Leinster Square in London's Notting Hill will now ensure the sensitive restoration of the seven existing, stuccofronted terrace buildings into five stylish townhouses and ten elegant, lateral apartments, totalling approximately 4665 m/2 (50,000 ft/2).

The proposal is the second of a two-phase redevelopment of 7-19 Leinster Square, in collaboration with Alchemi Group to restore the terrace of properties to the original residential usage. The external envelope of the existing buildings will remain, for the most part, unchanged save for much needed and unobtrusive restoration works.

Located in the Bayswater Conservation area, the terraces which comprise 13-19 Leinster Square were originally constructed in the mid-19th Century (1856-9) . As part of a larger group of twenty former terraced townhouses, the buildings were granted Grade II listed status in 1965.

Andrew Tate, Director of TateHindle welcomed the decision: "This is an exciting development with designs to return a Grade II listed terrace to its former grandeur. By reactivating the impressive townhouse entrances and plan-form at basement and ground levels, we intend to preserve the heritage of the Square; whilst creating luxury lateral apartments that embrace modern living on the upper floors."

Co-founder and Creative Director at Alchemi Group, Laura Marino said: Continuing to work with TateHindle on our second Leinster Square development is a pleasure. Based on our experience working together, we knew they would be the right architect for a complicated and detailed project like this. Their level of professionalism, experience, diligence and pro-active problem solving are exactly what's required. The design for 13-19 Leinster Square aims to provide the best in terms of style, value and quality. The internal finishes enhance the heritage elements of the restoration, blending them seamlessly with the necessities of modern living."

Throughout the 20th Century the terraces were continually combined, converted, reconfigured and extended. Eventually in the 1970's the buildings became a hotel. They have remained in use as a hotel until the present day. Although in need of repair, the stuccoed facade to the square retains most of its original character and also demonstrates the use of then popular Italianate style.

The Grade II listed terrace is to be restored to its original residential usage creating new high quality family homes;

Sensitive wholesale renovation of the dilapidated principal facade is proposed to restore the terrace to its former glory;

Sympathetic rationalisation and refurbishment of the rear of the terrace will greatly improve the outlook from neighbouring buildings whilst creating vital amenity space at lower levels;

A comprehensive internal refurbishment will restore much of the original internal plan form as well as reinstate original features throughout the building.

Spotlight on Bayswater: property area guide

Homes & Property, 22 October 2014

Luxury flats are replacing cheap hotels throughout Bayswater, while tatty tourist shops will make way for a smart new urban village.

read more»

Bayswater: property profile

Bayswater’s large, mid-Victorian white stucco houses have mostly been divided into flats — and there are nearly five times as many flats for sale as houses. There are smaller houses in the streets around Westbourne Park Road, while the Queensway area has apartment blocks that were built between the wars.

What’s new: Leinster Square W2 involves the renovation and conversion of a hotel in Leinster Square into five three- and four-bedroom maisonettes on the lower-ground, ground and first floors of five grand 1860 white stucco buildings, with six lateral flats above and in a sixth white stucco building. The developer is Alchemi Group and the prices of the flats start at £4.25 million, with the maisonettes from £5.95 million. See www.leinstersquareW2.com or call Knight Frank on 020 7861 5499.

Alchemi is also the developer of Westbourne House in Westbourne Grove where there are 19 one-, two- and three-bedroom flats and a penthouse. Five flats remain and prices start at £1.36 million for a one bedroom flat and £3,795,000 for a three-bedroom flat. There are shops on the ground floor and residents are due to move in next spring. See www.westbournehouseW2.com or call Jones Lang LaSalle on 020 7993 7395.

Travel: Bayswater is conveniently placed for the Heathrow Express service from Paddington station and the M4 motorway is easily accessible from nearby Westway. Crossrail arrives in 2018 at Paddington, which is getting a makeover.

The area has two Tube stations — Queensway on the Central line and Bayswater on the District and Circle lines. Both stations are in Zone 1 and an annual travelcard costs £1,256.

The area attracts: international buyers like Bayswater as it is halfway between the West End and Paddington, from where they can catch the Heathrow Express to the airport.

Staying power: Hamptons’ Tom Folland says in his experience, sellers have usually been living in the Bayswater area for between five and 10 years — although occasionally he is called in to value a home that is being sold for the first time in decades, including a flat in Cleveland Square which came recently to the market after 30 years.

Postcode: Bayswater is in the W2 Paddington postcode that also includes Hyde Park and strays into parts of Notting Hill and Little Venice.

Best roads: east of Queensway, these are Lancaster Gate and Cleveland Square; west of Queensway, there’s Palace Court, with late-Victorian mansion flats built in a flamboyant style; Kensington Gardens Square, and the enclave of family houses in the Westbourne Park area.

Up-and-coming areas: the Hallfield Estate is a listed Fifties council estate east of Queensway. Designed by architect Denys Lasdun when he worked at Tecton, the practice led by Berthold Lubetkin, flats here are popular with the design-conscious.

Schools: Wetherby (boys, ages three to eight), a private pre-prep school in Pembridge Square, was attended by Princes William and Harry; the associated Pembridge Hall (girls, ages four to 11) is in the same square. Other private pre-prep schools are: Chepstow House (co-ed, ages four to seven) in Pembridge Villas and Hawkesdown House (boys ages three to seven) in Edge Street.

All Bayswater’s state primary schools are judged to be “good" by government education watchdog Ofsted. They are: Hallfield in Inverness Terrace; St James and St John CofE in Craven Terrace; St Stephen’s CofE in Westbourne Park Road, and St Mary of the Angels RC in Shrewsbury Road. The three nearest state comprehensive schools are all judged “outstanding". They are Westminster Academy (co-ed, ages 11 to 18) in the Naim Dangoor Centre in Harrow Road; Paddington Academy (co-ed, ages 11 to 18) in Marylands Road, and Holland Park (co-ed, ages 11 to 18) in Airlie Gardens.

Shops and restaurants

At the top end of Queensway, nearest Kensington Gardens, the main retail street is a tawdry mess of tourist gift shops, relieved only by some excellent Chinese restaurants including one of Evening Standard restaurant critic Fay Maschler’s favourites, Royal China.

The former Whiteleys department store is now a shopping centre with branches of H&M, Joy, Jigsaw, Karen Millen, Kurt Geiger, Marks & Spencer, Zara and chef Rowley Leigh’s restaurant, Le Café Anglais. In tandem with the council’s plans to improve Queensway, local companies have formed a Business Improvement District.

Round the corner in Moscow Road, the presence of St Sophia’s, the Greek Orthodox cathedral, has brought Greek cafés and corner shops to the street.

Westbourne Grove gets increasingly smart as it approaches Notting Hill. At the Bayswater end it is a good place to look for sleek, modern furniture in branches of SCP, BoConcept, French brand Gautier, Brazilian designer store Silvia Nayla and ASPACE for children’s furniture. Off Westbourne Grove, Hereford Road is a popular neighbourhood fine dining restaurant.

There is a row of interesting independent shops in Westbourne Park Road including The Idler Academy, a bookshop linked to online magazine The Idler, and The Cow, Tom Conran’s gastropub.

Open space

Bayswater residents are fortunate to have the 350 acres of Hyde Park and the 242 acres of Kensington Gardens on their doorstep. There are cafés, art at the Serpentine Galleries, horse riding in Rotten Row, and outdoor swimming at the Serpentine Lido.

Leisure and the arts: The Print Room, a respected fringe theatre which operated from a small theatre off Westbourne Grove, has moved to the historic Coronet Theatre in nearby Notting Hill Gate. The company is restoring the theatre and its first season recently opened. There is an Odeon multiplex cinema in the Whiteleys centre in Queensway.

Queens Ice Rink and Bowl, also in Queensway, is one of only a handful of indoor ice rinks in London, and also has a tenpin bowling alley. The nearest council-owned swimming pool is at the Porchester Centre in Queensway. The associated Porchester Spa has three Turkish baths, two steam rooms and a sauna. There is also a swimming pool at the private LA Fitness branch in Moscow Place.

New schools and homes will ease battle over catchment areas

Homes & Property , 3 September 2014

*Extract taken from article

From £1,295,000: family-size loft-style apartments carved from a former office block at 55 Victoria Street, Westminster. Call 020 7318 4677

read more»

The Grey Coat Hospital in Westminster is one of the top state schools for girls in London, popular with parent politicians including former education secretary Michael Gove, who sends his daughter there. Family-size flats are for sale moments away at 55 Victoria Street, in an office block remodelled into 54 loft-style homes. Prices from £1,295,000. Call 020 7318 4677

Snooping Around

The Metro , 21 August 2014

Once a no go area, Notting Hill is now one of London's most exclusive districts. Developed in the 1840s by the Ladbroke family , it has private garden squares, grand stucco buildings and elegant crescents. Homes range from period conversions and 1960s blocks to pastel-painted cottages and four and five-storey villas worth £10million. Garages cost more than starter flats in less swish parts of London but you can find a studio or compact one-bedder for £375,000. To rent, one-bedroom flats cost about £475 per week and two-bedroom ones are around £650 - £700.

read more»

Taylor Wimpey Central London is building the Ladbroke Grove development. Prices of the 133 apartments start at £470,000, through Strutt & Parker and John D Wood. In Leinster Square, Alchemi Group is turning a former hotel into six luxury apartments and five town houses, from £3.95million through Knight Frank.

Superluxe pad of the week

Sunday Times , 13 July 2014

Alchemi Group is the Development Manager behind the restoration and re-conversion of the stucco fronted Grade II listed hotel into 11 luxury residential homes. There will be five town homes ranging from three to four bedrooms and six, three-bedroom lateral apartments. The project aims to integrate a sympathetic restoration of 7-12’s original Victorian features with high quality solutions to meet the needs of today. The principle lower floors are to be repaired and refurbished as grand town homes, with spacious lateral apartments on the upper floors.

read more»

£8.5 million

The laid back boho vibe of Notting Hill was decorated into submission long ago - today, the style in one of west London’s most sought-after postcodes is glossy and gorgeous. Take up residence at 11 Leinster Square, one of five townhouses on the square that have recently been restored, along with six flats. It has three bedrooms, including a master suite with access to a courtyard and a roof top terrace. Owners’ perks include a 24-hour concierge service and access to a shared private garden.

Rooftop sophistication

Future Constructor and Architect, 1 July 2014

Westbourne House is an exclusive 20 apartment development with a touch of Art Deco elegance, situated in the Westbourne Grove area, W2 and developed by the Alchemi Group.

Working with award-winning architects Stiff + Trevillion, London development experts Alchemi Group has taken a dismal 1980s office building and created a highly contemporary 28,000ft² development of 20 exquisitely detailed one, two and three bedroom apartments together with a penthouse commanding 360 degree panoramic views from its 1386ft² terrace. The result truly is a highly contemporary, yet timeless living space that captivates the imagination and encapsulates the heritage and personality of the surrounding area.

read more»

Alchemi Group saw the potential to add exquisitely intricate balconies and a new, contemporary facade as an opportunity to restore the glamour of the area’s past and add value to the community. The generous apartments, with high ceilings and excellent views from the upper floors, use authentic materials designed with sharp contemporary detailing to add to the overall sense of a timeless classic.

Located in a desirable W2 location, Westbourne House offers easy access to the centre of London. The development, that consists of 100% private ownership residences, benefits from a 24 hour concierge, inner-city underground parking, and substantial outdoor spaces.

Setting the tone for the rest of the building, the lobby of Westbourne House makes a truly grand first impression featuring luxurious materials such as walnut panelling, graphic tiled flooring, soft feature lighting and textured wallpaper all add to the feeling of exclusivity.

Laura Marino, Creative Director of Alchemi Group says: “We aspire to always use the best quality materials for all of our developments, which is why we flew out to the Petersen factory in Denmark with the Stiff + Trevillion. We felt it was important to see first-hand the level of craftsmanship that goes into the beautiful Kolumba bricks before specifying them for the project."

This attention to detail and level of workmanship can be seen throughout Westbourne House. Enjoyment and relaxation are at the heart of the living areas, where the stunning bespoke, solid oak flooring, laid in a herringbone pattern, introduces depth and refinement to the flawless interiors and runs throughout the apartments. Cityscape views are maximised through extensive use of floor-to-ceiling glazing, coupled with private balconies or terraces.

The kitchens are light filled and practical, fully-fitted for the discerning cook, with no compromise on aesthetics. The Italian designer kitchens from Mesons are testament to the high quality materials and finishes specified throughout. The 30mm gloss lacquered cabinet doors are immaculately finished with stainless steel trim and subtle handle detailing. Combined with the antique mirror splashback, they make an elegant addition to the open plan space.

The bedrooms are generously proportioned with the master bedrooms including private en-suites and large walk-in wardrobes and dual access to allow early risers to get ready discreetly.

Classic materials designed with sharp contemporary detailing add to the overall sense of timelessness. Marble is used to great effect in each bath or shower room and is mixed with hand crafted ceramic tiles or specialty details like bespoke mosaic rugs. The family bathroom also features brick terracotta tiles with a white glaze and craquele finish. This is complemented by Lefroy Brooks brassware and chrome heated towel rail.

In the master en-suite, high end features include white polished marble tiles with skirting and architrave details and Samuel Heath brassware.

The specification of the heating systems ensures complete comfort, with thermostatic underfloor heating installed in all living spaces, bedrooms and bathrooms. In hot summer months, comfort cooling is provided to receptions areas and bedrooms. Meanwhile, when it comes to home automation the capabilities are endless. Aerial array AM/VHF & UHF is installed throughout, along with terrestrial digital TV wiring.

Sky capabilities are pre-wired, as well as pre-wired provision for Central Sound System Rack, and pre-wired Notional located speaker wiring.

In all apartments except the Penthouse – which already has this installed – there is the provision for automatic roller blind controls.

The intricate, bronzed metalwork balustrades to the exterior articulate style and help define each apartment, thus creating an eye-catching design enjoyed from both inside and outside of the building. The eye-catching design pays homage to the building’s past as the William Owen Linen Draper shop, evoking the shop’s famous textile weaving patterns.

Jeremy Wharmby, Director from JLL, the sales agent for the development, said: “Bayswater has experienced relatively little in the way of residential development in recent years but this is all set to change. With its well-connected transport links and proximity to Hyde Park, the area is set to further benefit from a healthy influx of new residential projects over the coming years."

Westbourne House has some of the capital’s most attractive neighbours. Notting Hill Gate, Holland Park and Bayswater wrap around Westbourne Grove, with the nature of Hyde Park and the culture of Kensington directly south.

Transport options such as the Central, District and Circle tube lines, as well as the nearby Heathrow Express at Paddington Station link Westbourne Grove to the rest of London and the world. Westbourne House itself is located amidst a thriving social scene, with plenty of shopping, dining, entertainment and leisure opportunities. Local and critics’ favourites such as Tom Pemberton’s ‘Hereford Road’, 2-Michelin-star ‘The Ledbury’, ‘Notting Hill Brasserie’, cutting-edge movie house ‘The Electric’, Tom Conran’s ‘The Cow’, ‘Lucky 7’ and ‘Crazy Homies’ and ‘The Westbourne Tavern’ are all within a 5-10 minute walk of Westbourne House. Westbourne Grove runs directly into Notting Hill and the world-renowned Portobello Road is a mere 10 minute walk away.

Stores include Flamant Interiors, one of Fiorentini + Baker’s only dedicated shoe stores outside of Italy, popular florist Wild at Heart as well as the famous Notting Hill Bookshop.Cultural attractions are on Westbourne House residents’ doorstep, including local art galleries, such as ‘Bayswater Road’, which is London’s largest open-air gallery, the ‘Calken Gallery’ known for its figurative bronze sculptures and idiosyncratic contemporary art gallery ‘Victor Felix’. Simply stroll around to explore the multitude of local, hidden gems and discover your own favourites.

Westbourne Grove takes its name from Westbourne Green, first documented in 1548. The original Westbourne House was rebuilt in 1745 by architect Isaac Ware as an elegant three-level Georgian mansion. This home to ambassadors, dignitaries and architects was later demolished in 1836.

The local area gradually became known for its artistic, creative and culturally alternative residents. Some of the previous famous residents include Victorian novelist Thomas Hardy and inventor of the radio, Guglielmo Marconi.

In the 1850s, railway improvements and the expansion of Bayswater attracted tradesmen to the area, establishing exclusive textile and drapery shops that transformed Westbourne Grove from a leafy country retreat to a world fashion hub.

Deja View

Move to London, 17 June 2014

Alchemi Group feature in Move to London

read more»

Enjoy views south, towards Battersea Power Station, from the communal eighth-floor ‘sky garden’ and soak up some sun while you’re at it. Inspired by New York City loft-style living, the 54 apartments by the Alchemi Group have dramatic high ceilings, floor-to-ceiling windows, resident gym and 10-year Zipcar membership. Aim high for 360-degree views from the penthouses.

Property: The rise of London’s high-rise sky gardens

The Metro, 6 June 2014

The next few years will see more than 200 tower blocks springing up all around the capital, according to commercial real estate company CBRE, and many of them will come complete with terrific terraces and gardens in the sky.

read more»

At 41 storeys, South Bank Tower will soon have one of London’s largest and highest roof gardens, spanning 10,000 square feet. The redevelopment of the old IPC Media headquarters in SE1 is being transformed into 191 luxury apartments and its terrace will have panoramic views of the city, as well as boasting its own residents’ lounge bar and event space.

Estate agent Savills is selling one-bed apartments at South Bank Tower from £885,000 and the development’s coordinator, George Kyriacou, says its sizeable terrace makes the scheme unique.

The mixed-use building contains offices with their own terrace at a lower level while the apartments are set on floors 11 to 41, guaranteeing a peaceful retreat high above the city’s constantly beating heart.

‘It’s difficult to assess how much the roof terrace influences buyers but it’s a lifestyle thing,’ says Kyriacou. ‘Even if you buy a small one-bed apartment, you can book the private lounge and dining table, which seats 12.’

Estate agents agree that outdoor space, especially on the waterfront, adds value. Marsh & Parsons estimate that a great garden or outdoor space will typically add 20 per cent to a property’s value, rising to 40 per cent if the space is sunny and south-facing.

Further east, Hackney’s London Fields may be the only neighbourhood in London boasting a 50m-long heated outdoor pool but the borough’s 1930s-built lido will soon have a neighbour set on the roof of Union Developments’ Warehaus.

Its 30 one and two-bedroom apartments all feature art deco-inspired interiors and underfloor heating but it’s the development’s glass- bottomed rooftop pool that will surely wow prospective buyers.

Doubling as the atrium’s ceiling, the pool’s roof terrace has a wild flower garden, creating a peaceful, sky-high oasis. ‘The pool has a retractable decked cover that you can walk on and there are amazing views from up there,’ says Union Developments’ Peter Ciezak. Three-bedroom apartments start at £825,000, with prices for one and two-bed apartments soon to be released.

Buyers who don’t have a head for heights may instead choose the ground-level courtyard terrace at new development 55VS on Victoria Street in SW1. However, thrill- seekers will surely gravitate to its eighth-floor sky garden, says Laura Marino of developers Alchemi Group, adding that outdoor space is important to city dwellers.

‘The lobby’s granite flooring flows into the courtyard,’ says Marino, ‘where pocket seating areas and planted garden areas allow for social gatherings and quiet privacy.’

Apartments start at £1.1million, which also buys you rooftop views of Battersea Power Station and Southwark Cathedral.

On the banks of the Regent’s Canal in EC1, the 31-storey Canaletto lets buyers get closer to the stars at its 24th-storey residents’ club with terrace. Other facilities include a pool, gym and spa plus a restaurant that will also be open to the public.

Expected to complete next year, 190 apartments, including studios, three-bed apartments and a penthouse start at £840,000. And for buyers with sky-high budgets, £12million and £18million are the price tags for two penthouses at The Heron, City of London, which both have ‘indoor outdoor’ rooms with retractable roof and access to a communal roof terrace.

WESTBOURNE HOUSE, LONDON W2, BY ALCHEMI GROUP

The Royal Exchange Newsletter, 2 June 2014

Westbourne House, designed by award-winning architects Stiff + Trevillion and developed by the Alchemi Group is an exclusive 20 apartment development located in the Westbourne Grove area of London, W2. Designed with a touch of Art Deco elegance, the development comprises a mixture of one, two and three bedroom apartments together with a penthouse commanding 360 degree panoramic views from its 1,386 square foot terrace. Intricate balconies and a new, contemporary façade has been designed as an opportunity to restore the glamour of the area’s past and add value to the community.

read more»

The generous apartments, with high ceilings and excellent views from the upper floors, use authentic materials designed with sharp contemporary detailing to add to the overall sense of a timeless classic. Cityscape views are maximised through extensive use of floor-to-ceiling glazing, coupled with private balconies or terraces.

The development, located in desirable W2 with excellent links to central London consists of 100% private ownership residences, benefitting from a 24 hour concierge, inner-city underground parking, and substantial outdoor spaces.

Pricing from £1,360,000. The development is due for completion in Q1 2015. For further information please contact Diana Alam, Head of Development Sales & City Office at JLL on +44(0)20 7337 4004 or Diana.Alam@eu.jll.com.

Alchemi launches 28,000 sq ft Westbourne Grove scheme

Prime Residential, 23 May 2014

Adding to its burgeoning W2 pipeline, West London-based developer Alchemi

has just launched its latest project; the transformation of a ‘dismal’ 80s office block into twenty luxury residences with ‘a touch of Art Deco elegance’.

read more»

Designed by architects Stiff + Trevillion, the 20-unit, 28,000 square foot Westbourne House will offer a selection of ‘generous’ one, two and three bed apartments, along with a stonking penthouse.

Rather cleverly, the team saw the potential to add some fetching balconies to the building (once the William Owen Linen Draper shop) and a new, contemporary façade, which it’s hoped will ‘restore some glamour’ to the area.

The development – scheduled for completion in 2015 – will feature a 24 hour concierge, inner-city underground parking, and substantial outdoor spaces, including a chunky 1,386 square foot terrace on the penthouse.

Laura Marino, Creative Director of Alchemi Group: “We aspire to always use the best quality materials for all of our developments, which is why we flew out to the Petersen factory in Denmark with the Stiff + Trevillion. We felt it was important to see first-hand the level of craftsmanship that goes into the beautiful Kolumba bricks before specifying them for the project."

Jeremy Wharmby, Director from JLL, the sales agent for the development: “Bayswater has experienced relatively little in the way of residential development in recent years but this is all set to change. With its well-connected transport links and proximity to Hyde Park, the area is set to further benefit from a healthy influx of new residential projects over the coming years. JLL are expecting strong interest, particularly from the local market."

The developer has already bagged consent to transform two hotels in Leinster Square into top-end resi this year; other projects on the go include 55VS, a 55-unit scheme in Victoria.

Alchemi Group brings Art Deco sophistication to exclusive W2 development

adf architects datafile, 23 May 2014

Westbourne House, an exclusive 20 apartment development with a touch of Art Deco elegance, situated in the Westbourne Grove area, W2 and developed by the Alchemi Group launches this week.

Working with award-winning architects Stiff + Trevillion, London development experts Alchemi Group has taken a dismal 1980s office building and created a highly contemporary 28,000 sq ft development of 20 exquisitely detailed one, two and three bedroom apartments together with a penthouse commanding 360 degree panoramic views from its 1,386 square foot terrace.

read more»

Alchemi Group saw the potential to add exquisitely intricate balconies and a new, contemporary façade as an opportunity to restore the glamour of the area’s past and add value to the community. The generous apartments, with high ceilings and excellent views from the upper floors, use authentic materials designed with sharp contemporary detailing to add to the overall sense of a timeless classic.

Located in a desirable W2 location, Westbourne House offers easy access to the centre of London. The development, that consists of 100% private ownership residences, benefits from a 24 hour concierge, inner-city underground parking, and substantial outdoor spaces.

Laura Marino, Creative Director of Alchemi Group:

“We aspire to always use the best quality materials for all of our developments, which is why we flew out to the Petersen factory in Denmark with the Stiff + Trevillion. We felt it was important to see first-hand the level of craftsmanship that goes into the beautiful Kolumba bricks before specifying them for the project."

This attention to detail and level of workmanship can be seen throughout Westbourne House. Enjoyment and relaxation are at the heart of the living areas, where the stunning bespoke, solid oak flooring, laid in a herringbone pattern, introduces depth and refinement to the flawless interiors and runs throughout the apartments. Cityscape views are maximised through extensive use of floor-to-ceiling glazing, coupled with private balconies or terraces.

The kitchens are light filled and practical, fully-fitted for the discerning cook, with no compromise on aesthetics. The Italian designer kitchens from Mesons are testament to the high quality materials and finishes specified throughout. The 30mm gloss lacquered cabinet doors are immaculately finished with stainless steel trim and subtle handle detailing. Combined with the antique mirror splashback, they make an elegant addition to the open plan space.

The bedrooms are generously proportioned with the master bedrooms including private en-suites and large walk-in wardrobes, whilst marble is used to great effect in each bath or shower room and is mixed with hand crafted ceramic tiles or speciality details like bespoke mosaic rugs.

The intricate, bronzed metalwork balustrades to the exterior articulate style and definition. The eye-catching design pays homage to the building’s past as the William Owen Linen Draper shop, evoking the shop’s famous textile weaving patterns.

Jeremy Wharmby, Director from JLL, the sales agent for the development, said:

“Bayswater has experienced relatively little in the way of residential development in recent years but this is all set to change. With its well-connected transport links and proximity to Hyde Park, the area is set to further benefit from a healthy influx of new residential projects over the coming years. Westbourne House, a scheme by Alchemi Group, comprises 20 one, two and three bedroom apartments and is launching on 22nd May. Completion is estimated in Spring 2015 and JLL are expecting strong interest, particularly from the local market."

Westbourne House has some of the capital’s most attractive neighbours. Notting Hill Gate, Holland Park and Bayswater wrap around Westbourne Grove, with the nature of Hyde Park and the culture of Kensington directly south. All the opportunities of the capital stretch to the east, as premier transport options link Westbourne Grove to the rest of London, Heathrow and the UK at large.

Westbourne House launches on 22nd May with apartments priced from £1,360,000. The development is due for completion in Q1 2015. To make an appointment please call the selling agents JLL on 020 7993 7395, email residential@eu.jll.com or visit www.westbournehousew2.com.

QFB launches sale of London luxury property units

DOHA INSIGHT, 20 May 2014

Qatar First Bank (QFB) announced the sales launch of its luxury townhouses and apartments at its real estate development in Leinster Square, Central London W2.

The launch event was held at QFB’s offices in Doha and attended by a select group of investors and clients of QFB who were offered the exclusive opportunity to buy townhouses and apartments in this prestigious development.

Leinster Square is located in London’s Bayswater area, just minutes away from Hyde Park.

read more»

The launch of sales of Leinster Square builds on the success of QFB’s first real estate project in the same area of Bayswater which was launched in March this year and consists of 20 luxury apartments, including a duplex penthouse and underground car parking in Westbourne Grove, Central London W2.

QFB chairman Abdullah al-Marri said, “We are delighted to be able to offer our second project to our clients and investors. The project is being marketed in Qatar first on a priority basis before it is marketed anywhere else. The homes on offer are well-suited to Qatari and Gulf clients looking for a family home in London, or for investment. The location is excellent and we expect them to sell fast. QFB is planning further developments in Central London and our strategy is to always keep the requirements of the Qatari and Gulf families in mind."

The project is being managed by Alchemi Group, a London-based residential property developer. The development consists of six three-bedroom apartments and five townhouses. The homes will be fitted out to the highest standard of luxury throughout, and all units (including townhouses) will be serviced by a 24-hour concierge. All homes will have south-facing views over the private garden square and will have access to the garden via a private gate directly opposite the development.

The completion date is expected in mid-2015.

Jonathan Whittle, head (sales) at Alchemi, said: “This is an exceptional opportunity to acquire a home in this prestigious project, with the price locked-in today. There is a severe shortage of quality housing in London, particularly in Notting Hill, and we expect strong demand for these units." (gulf-times)

Be quick: the designer new homes are launching in London this spring

Homes & Property, 16 April 2014

From flats with a glass-bottom rooftop pool to skyscrapers by “starchitects" – London’s new spring homes are revealed.

A spectacular glass-bottom rooftop swimming pool suspended above a light-filled atrium at a block of flats in London Fields, Hackney, is among the architectural highlights awaiting Easter home buyers.

Other head-turners include Canary Wharf high-rise homes with vast winter gardens offering year-round enjoyment and sweeping views, while loft-style apartments at a former ministry building in fast-changing Victoria bring a touch of Manhattan’s Tribeca district to the prized SW1 postcode.

New Marylebone townhouses, the first new terrace built locally since the Eighties, are also being unveiled, as the family-living revival in central London takes hold.

Developers appear more willing than ever to embrace stunning architecture and push interior design boundaries in order to stand out from the crowd and capture buyers’ imaginations. For their part, buyers have high expectations and are after the best possible value for money in locations with “upside".

To find the right home in the right place at the right price, Londoners are becoming more ambitious in their property moves, often relocating to another borough or crossing the river. Estate agent Winkworth reports the main flows are from north and west London to south London, where family houses are significantly cheaper and new Overground train stations are helping to revitalise areas such as Brockley and Sydenham.

read more»

In this buoyant market, you have to be quick on your toes to get the home of your choice in your preferred location, because often there is another purchaser ready to step in. It is not uncommon for hundreds of people to register for a new development prior to its launch. Despite the capital’s construction boom, new homes are in short supply, particularly finished properties, which is driving buyers towards off-plan deals up to three years ahead of completion.

Try not to be dazzled by glitzy sales suites with mock-ups of what the finished home will be like. Developers are past masters at using aspirational marketing to hype a location or gloss over so-so design or a gritty urban address by offering a few lifestyle extras such as gym, concierge and car club.

Here, we explore the cream of the crop of the Easter offerings, the developments with a difference.

BEST FOR DESIGN BUFFS

When developer Alchemi acquired a concrete slab office block up the road from the Palace of Westminster, it decided to remodel rather than bulldoze the building to make the most of the five-metre wide window bays and create 54 open-plan, loft-style apartments.

Re-clad in Danish charcoal-fired bricks and with beautiful bronzed balustrading, the architecture at 55 Victoria Street, is a welcome addition, with a lush sky garden and warm, bespoke-design interiors that are a departure from the “international hotel look" of many central London developments. Prices from £1.1 million. Call Strutt & Parker on 020 7318 4677.

Old hotels in London’s Westbourne Grove recast as high-end housing

Financial Times, 4 April 2014

Shrewd hoteliers have begun to sell up to property developers hoping to return the buildings to their former glory.

When Laura Marino, creative director at the property developer Alchemi Group, first visited the six derelict, stucco-fronted, terraced properties that once formed the Leinster Inn hotel in Bayswater, west London, they were in such bad condition that no more than two people at a time could stand in any of the upper rooms for fear of falling through. “The ceilings were crumbling, and there was a damning environmental report. It had been a hotel but it looked like a carved-up youth hostel," says Marino.

read more»

There are numerous equally dilapidated properties in Westbourne Grove, an area of Bayswater sandwiched between the brightly painted terraces of Notting Hill and the shopping mecca of Shepherd’s Bush. Despite its proximity to Hyde Park and a profusion of fine stucco-fronted townhouses and elegant garden squares, the property market in the W2 postcode suffers from an injurious past. It was here, during the 1950s, that the notorious landlord Peter Rachman turned a once genteel area into an overcrowded slum. Ethics aside, the material effect of his actions was the subdivision of a lot of local housing into countless tiny flats, bedsits and, eventually, hostels and hotels, many of which subsequently fell into disrepair.

In recent years, however, shrewd hoteliers have begun to sell up to property developers such as Alchemi, which hope to return the buildings to their former glory, converting them into high-end apartments and townhouses.

This is in no small part thanks to the success of The Lancasters, a former Thistle hotel overlooking the north end of Hyde Park. The renovation by developers Northacre was completed in 2011 and the 77 sumptuously decorated private apartments quickly sold out with price tags of up to £3,800 per sq ft.

Giles Hannah, senior vice-president of Christie’s International Real Estate, attributes the area’s recent price rises almost entirely to the success of hotel conversions such as The Lancasters.

“Prices in W2 have risen over the last three years by 16 per cent, and the once run-down streets nearby have become much sought after," he says. “Several streets within Bayswater and Queensway are experiencing a complete transformation, with budget hotels being turned into prime residential apartments. W2 remains undervalued compared with its neighbour W11 [around Notting Hill], but is expected to see further price rises as these old hotels are converted into luxury apartments."

Westbourne Grove is still a relative bargain compared with some of its neighbours, particularly for older properties. Three- to four-bedroom terraced houses are available for between £1m and £2m. In Notting Hill and Ladbroke Grove (W11), prices are more likely to run from £2m to 10 times that. High-end conversions are usually significantly more expensive, however. Westbourne Grove itself, a meandering road which stretches all the way from Ladbroke Gardens in the west to Queensway in the east, is already a hub of designer shops, cafés and delis, while the markets of Portobello Road are a short walk away.

When it is completed in 2015, the Alchemi scheme in Leinster Square will consist of five family townhouses and six three-bedroom apartments. The buildings, which are listed, will retain their white stucco façade, as well as numerous original Victorian features. The apartments are due to go on sale with Knight Frank this spring, with prices from about £3.8m.

Nearby, boutique developer Amazon Property is converting the former Comfort Inn Hotel in Craven Hill Gardens and the adjacent Hempel Hotel, which it bought with British Land for £33m, into a range of apartments and townhouses called The Hempel Collection. When it opened in 1997, the Hempel Hotel, with its fashionable minimalist interiors designed by the 1960s actress-turned-hotelier Anouska Hempel, was the place to see and be seen, with celebrity guests including Michael Jackson and the Beckhams.

Like The Lancasters, The Hempel Collection development will involve the demolition of everything behind the Georgian façade. This type of conversion contains unique challenges, such as the construction of floors on rubber springs, so as to counter the vibrations of the nearby Tube line.

Chris Lanitis, director at Amazon, insists that Hempel, when it is completed in 2016, will be “the next Lancasters". “There is a list of buyers who missed out on The Lancasters, to whom we will be marketing. The architecture here is unique, irreplaceable," he says. Phase One of The Hempel Collection, containing 12 flats and three houses on the former Comfort Inn site, is now on sale with prices from £2.6m.

Those who buy into these hotel conversions will also benefit from local commercial improvements. A Brunei investor has committed £500m to transforming nearby Queensway into a smart urban estate like Marylebone High Street. The investor has bought up 75 per cent of the street’s buildings, including the listed Whiteleys shopping centre. Dixon Jones, one of the architecture firms behind the redevelopment of the Royal Opera House, has been hired to draw up a master plan.

Smaller, less ostentatious developments like The Hempel Collection often appeal to British buyers, and do not prompt much overseas marketing, according to Lanitis. “We’re not trying to be the Candy brothers or One Hyde Park," he says. “Unlike many prime central London developments, we have a lot of success with domestic buyers as well as international ones, I think because they still look so quintessentially British."

Sisk appointed on new Alchemi scheme

Prime Residential, 19 March 2014

Alchemi Group has hired construction firm John Sisk & Son to build its latest resi project in Victoria.

The scheme, called 55VS (after 55 Victoria Street of course), is set to deliver 54 “New York loft style" apartments and has been designed by Alchemi Group in collaboration with Stiff + Trevillion Architects, with units ranging from studio flats to split-level penthouses.

read more»

The exterior is being clad in handmade charcoal fired bricks from Denmark and residents will have access to a gym and two communal gardens, including an eighth floor “Sky Garden" with south-facing views.

Sisk are due to start on site on 7 April 2014 with project completion expected in October 2015. The on site Marketing Suite will launch on 3rd April 2014.

Nick Porzig, Development Director of Alchemi Group: “We’re delighted to appoint SISK to build this fantastic project within the heart of Westminster. With their expertise and emphasis on quality Sisk are a natural partner to deliver this unique project. This building is a key milestone in Alchemi’s growth strategy and we look forward to the successful delivery of the project in October 2015."

Sisk Director, Mike Higgins: “Sisk are delighted to have the opportunity to work with Alchemi Group to deliver this prestigious residential scheme. Alchemi’s in-depth understanding of the Central London residential market, and their ability to consistently bring excellent products to market, makes them a key client with whom we can forge a long term relationship."

Sisk wins £30m London office to flats scheme

Construction Enquirer, 18 March 2014

John Sisk & Son is set to build New York loft style apartments in the heart of Victoria in London.

The project for developer Alchemi Group will see an office block at 55 Victoria Street converted into 54 luxury apartments.

Sisk are due to start on site in April and will extend the existing 8-storey concrete frame building to 12 floors. Building floor plates will also enlarged with a major rear extension to the building.

The existing stone facade will be stripped to be later clad in handmade charcoal fired bricks from Denmark.

The building, designed in a collaboration with Stiff + Trevillion Architects, will achieve a BREEAM Score of 70% – Rating ‘Excellent’.

read more»

The finished project will boast a range of studio flats to split-level Penthouse residences, a gymnasium, and two communal gardens – a lushly landscaped rear courtyard and an 8th floor Sky Garden with expansive south facing views.

Sisk Director, Mike Higgins said: “Alchemi’s in-depth understanding of the Central London residential market, and their ability to consistently bring excellent products to market, makes them a key client with whom we can forge a long term relationship."

Alchemi has also started a contract to reclad and remodel of an office block for 20 flats in London’s Westborne Grove, near Notting Hill. Irish contractor John Paul Construction started on the project in January.

Alchemi Group appoint SISK to their latest development in Victoria

AG Press release, 17 March 2014

Alchemi Group has appointed international construction company John Sisk & Son to 55VS, their development of New York loft style apartments in the heart of Victoria, SW1.

With its striking architectural design - conceptualised by Alchemi Group in collaboration with Stiff + Trevillion Architects – 55VS (55 Victoria Street) and is surrounded by the Capital's best known & loved landmarks such as Buckingham Palace, the Royal Parks, Houses of Parliament and Westminster Abbey.

read more»

The development comprises 54 apartments, ranging from Studio flats to split-level Penthouse residences. Each will benefit from open plan living spaces with 2.9m ceiling heights internally and five metre wide floor-to-ceiling windows along with wide plank oak wood floors in a dark matte finish, bronzed balustrades, unique designer kitchens and bespoke elements such hand glazed terracotta tiles. Every aspect of the scheme has been carefully considered; from the exterior clad in handmade charcoal fired bricks from Denmark, to the internal layouts and finishes throughout, chosen for their quality, texture and style.

There will be access to a gymnasium, and two communal gardens – a lushly landscaped rear courtyard and an 8th floor Sky Garden with expansive south facing views.

Nick Porzig, Development Director of Alchemi Group commented; “We're delighted to appoint SISK to build this fantastic project within the heart of Westminster. With their expertise and emphasis on quality Sisk are a natural partner to deliver this unique project. This building is a key milestone in Alchemi’s growth strategy and we look forward to the successful delivery of the project in October 2015."

Sisk Director, Mike Higgins commented;

“Sisk are delighted to have the opportunity to work with Alchemi Group to deliver this prestigious residential scheme. Alchemi’s in-depth understanding of the Central London residential market, and their ability to consistently bring excellent products to market, makes them a key client with whom we can forge a long term relationship."

The area immediately to the South of the site is dominated by good quality brick buildings, the majority of them residential and representing a range of architectural styles and periods of history. These buildings feature a wide variety of brick details, colours and bonding patterns. 55VS responds to this townscape by re-establishing residential use on Victoria Street, and by working with brick as the principle external material. It also marks an important corner on Victoria Street, making the building highly visible, particularly on the approach from Victoria Station.

In recent years, a number of older buildings have been replaced by high profile mixed-use developments. The renaissance of the area is attracting global fashion brands as well as high quality restaurants.

The result of this £4bn regeneration scheme is a diverse and energetic living and working population, making Victoria the 24-hour city address.

Sisk are due to start on site on 7 April 2014 with project completion expected in October 2015. The building will achieve a BREEAM Score of 70% - Rating 'Excellent'. Practical completions will be phased; with Ground, First & Second Floor due for completion July 2015, Third floor due for completion August 2015 and Fourth floor and above due for completion October 2015.

The on site Marketing Suite will launch 3rd April 2014.

Bayswater, central London: A central and cosmopolitan area that’s riding high

The Metro, 28 February 2014

Like so many parts of the capital, Bayswater has had its ups and downs. Its proximity to Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens – treated as a back garden by locals – and central location have long made it popular with affluent Londoners and overseas buyers.

The wide streets and crescents are characterised by elegant, white stucco 19th-century town houses rivalling Belgravia’s. However, an abundance of seedy bedsits, tacky hotels, tourist tat around Paddington station and Queensway, and a reputation as a notorious red light district led to Bayswater’s fall from grace in the decades after World War II.

Today it’s a very different place. Paddington’s regeneration is well under way and Grade II-listed Whiteleys is a smart shopping centre. Queensway itself is still scruffy but it’s always busy, due in part to some excellent Chinese restaurants.

read more»

Change is in the air: a Middle Eastern buyer – widely thought to be the Sultan of Brunei – has recently acquired 75 per cent of the properties along Queensway, including Whiteleys. A masterplan for a makeover is being drawn up and it’s tipped to become the Covent Garden of west London by 2020.

Bayswater’s transport connections are excellent and residents can walk to work in the West End, Knightsbridge and Kensington. Queensway and Lancaster Gate are on the Central line, Bayswater is on the District and Circle, and Heathrow is a 15-minute train ride from Paddington. When Crossrail opens in 2018, Canary Wharf will be just over 15 minutes away. All the stations are in Zone 1 and an annual Travelcard costs £1,256.

The vast majority of Bayswater’s stucco houses are divided into flats, ranging from spruced-up bedsits to spacious lateral apartments. The clientele is as international as ever and the area is enjoying a new lease of life.

‘We have buyers from all over the globe,’ says Michael Wilson of Mountgrange Heritage estate agents, which opened a Bayswater office last September. ‘Although prices have climbed by 20 per cent in the past 18 months, there’s still growth to be had and Bayswater is up to 20 per cent cheaper than Notting Hill and Marylebone.

‘Prices vary greatly. For example, first-floor flats tend to be dearer as they have high ceilings and balconies. You can find a studio flat for £350,000 and some of the new schemes are selling for over £3,000 per square foot. The most desirable properties are in Cleveland Square, full of stucco-fronted houses overlooking a private garden.’

Until recently, Bayswater had seen little development but the situation is changing as some former hotels are being converted into high-spec apartments. A welcome side effect is the neighbourhood now feels less transient.

A catalyst for Bayswater’s resurgence was the redevelopment of a former hotel on Bayswater Road, a joint venture between Minerva and Northacre. Built as a parade of 15 mid-Victorian town houses, it was transformed into The Lancasters, a landmark collection of 77 apartments which fetched record prices for the area.

‘The rise of property prices in Bayswater has long been heralded. It was not until the arrival of The Lancasters that we really witnessed an appetite for ultra high-end property,’ says Caspar Harvard-Walls of buying agency Black Brick. ‘The development has achieved prices of up to £3,800 per square foot, which is far in excess of the immediate local market. Developers are now looking at Bayswater as an area where there is sufficient demand for high-end property.

‘Bayswater lacks a heart at the moment so many residents will benefit hugely if the Queensway project is a success, and we anticipate that some new record prices will be achieved over the coming months, especially for one and two-bedroom properties. However, investors need to adopt a medium to long-term view and allow for serious growth over the next five to ten years.’

The Hempel Collection on Craven Hill Gardens is under way. In phase one, developer Amazon Property is converting the former Comfort Inn into 12 lateral apartments and three bespoke town houses, priced from £2.6million. Phase two will comprise the transformation of the Hempel Hotel – once a celebrity hangout and temple to minimalism – into further luxury apartments. The Alchemi Group is developing two hotels in Leinster Square, and converting redundant 1980s office block Westbourne House on Westbourne Grove into 20 stunning apartments. And at Prince’s Mansions on Prince’s Square, Fraser & Co has a one-bed third floor flat for sale in a grand, newly refurbished town house at £900,000.

The area also has a thriving rental market, with homes to suit all budgets. The Collective Hyde Park is a recently launched scheme of 24 high-end studios and en-suite rooms in a period building on Inverness Terrace, available for affordable rent. Prices are from £290 per week inclusive of bills, and flexible lease options of up to three years offer long-term security.

Prime Movers

Strutt & Parker , 19 February 2014

James Puddle, Associate in London Residential Development & Investment, tells Caroline McGhie why London’s prime central developments are attracting interest from the Far East.

When it comes to Far Eastern buyers who want a slice of the London property market, James Puddle has his finger on the pulse. He knows their budgets, their desires and their astuteness. He pre-sells to investors willing to buy off-plan and so taps into the booming economies on the other side of the world to underpin new developments and regeneration schemes. ‘Two years ago we established a ‘project marketing’ team, focusing on marketing central London residential developments to overseas buyers. By doing this we have ensured we are able compete with our peers on an equal footing in the marketplace,’ he explains. ‘We work closely with developers, helping them successfully deliver their projects by planning strategic launch campaigns in multiple locations. Our international presence was born out of necessity. We knew that if we didn’t have the capability to de-risk our clients’ projects and be involved in this phase of the sales strategy, we’d be giving our competitors an advantage.’ The team builds on Strutt & Parker’s partnership with Christie’s International Real Estate, which has affi liates in key markets such as Hong Kong and Singapore, as well as other up-and-coming locations throughout the South East Asia-Pacific region. Puddle’s approach is to provide a bespoke service, spending plenty of time on each project and taking on no more than half a dozen schemes a year. ‘This means we are able to dedicate a sufficient amount of time to each project, which ultimately helps maximise sales results,’ he says. ‘Developers hope to sell maybe 20-40% of a new development abroad at an early stage off-plan. This gives them an adequate level of comfort before they start construction, and helps them meet any fi nancial demands and establish sales prices.’ These preliminary sales tend to go at a discount, making them attractive to buyers.

read more»

The London property market phenomenon is known around the world, so international buyers are already wise to the fact that prime central values have more than doubled in eight years. But a careful decision has to be made about how many are exported for sale. ‘We release only a certain number of properties depending on the size of the project, because there is a delicate balance to be reached about how many overseas investors there are in any one development,’ says Puddle.

He is now a familiar figure in the exhibition rooms of large international hotels in these Far Eastern cities. These serve as a kind of catwalk for the latest haute couture buildings rising out of the ground here. In Singapore or Hong Kong there may be three to fi ve overseas projects being shown each weekend. Management and lettings experts and lawyers join the team to smooth the process for buyers. ‘Investors are very well informed,’ says Puddle. ‘They can often quote the specification and price per square foot values of different developments. They want brand new, they like buying off-plan; they don’t have to touch and feel fi rst. Some want a long-term investment of, say, five to seven years, some want buy-to-let, some buy for their children in the future.’ The hottest area for the London Res Dev team, as it is called, is currently Victoria, which has attracted £2.2 billion of investment from Land Securities and is undergoing a huge renaissance. ‘We are concentrating on one area that we know a lot about,’ says Puddle. ‘The investment from Land Securities makes it very attractive. It was seen as a bit commercial, but is surrounded by prime areas of London. It sits on top of a tube and railway station, and Gatwick is within easy reach.’ Whereas true prime values are currently around £2,500 per sq ft, those in Victoria are £1,500-2,000 per sq ft, so it represents better value and is one of the off-prime locations (others include Fitzrovia, Paddington, Nine Elms and Kings Cross) that are exciting buyers now.

London itself needs no sales pitch. It is loved around the world. Figures show that foreign investors snapped up 65-70% of new build in prime London in the past two years, and Nationwide reports that average newbuild capital values have risen by 47.7% since 2009. Can this continue? ‘It is amazing to see the level of middle-class wealth in the Far East,’ says Puddle. ‘Some wealthy buyers are very young. People in their early 30s are buying at around £1million. The economy is good and they are diligent about saving.’ Will 2014 bring new trends to keep Puddle and his colleagues on their toes? The team is already exploring new markets in China, Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia, all of which look promising. And although the sweet spot over the past two years has been at the £1,000-1,500 per sq ft, or £500,000 to £2million, level, Puddle believes there is going to be resurgence and increased appetite for newbuild properties in more peripheral London locations, where more affordable capital values of £600-800 per sq ft are available for buyers looking to enter the market.

BAYSWATER HOTEL TO REVERT TO RESIDENTIAL GOLD WITH ALCHEMI

Property Week, 24 January 2014

Umi Hotel in Leinster Square will be combined with terrace to create luxury homes.

Residential developer Alchemi Group is working up plans for a £150m luxury scheme in Bayswater, west London, after taking control of the Umi hotel.

Alchemi is working on plans to convert two hotels into more than 30 luxury flats, which are expected to command values of around £2,00/sq ft, and will dominate the northern side of the square.

read more»

US private equity investor Angelo Gordon has brought the Umi Hotel, at 13-19 Leinster Square, from the Lowy Group for a price thought to be around £30m. Alchemi has been appointed as the development manager to convert the three-star, 116-bedroom hotel, which is also known as the Westminster Hotel, into 15 to 20 flats, which could be worth around £90m when completed.

In 2012 JR Capital, a middle Eastern consortium working with Alchemi, bought the adjacent 80-bedroom Leinster Inn, at 7-12 Leinster Square for £20m. Last year the pair won planning consent to convert it into 11 flats with an estimated value of around £60m. Five of the flats will have their own ground-floor entrances.

The acquisition of the Umi will more than double the number of flats Alchemi can create on the square.

Despite the different owners of the two sites, Alchemi is in talks to try and combine the two schemes, which could share communal facilities such as a gym, spa and swimming pool.

A combined scheme would take in 13 grade II-listed buildings that make up most of the square's northern side.

Architect Tate Hindle, who designed the first element of the scheme, has also been lined up for the Umi Hotel.

Lowy Group has taken a lease on the Umi property until March, and will have a rolling lease after that to wind down the hotel. Alchemi is expected to submit a planning application for the Umi by the end of May.

Work is expected to start on 7-12 Leinster Square in February, with Alchemi hoping to be on the Umi site by the end of the year.

The conversion of the hotels comes as London councils appear keen to support planning applications to convert hotel properties that were originally designed to be private residential, back into residential use, behind the retained traditional facades of the buildings.

Alchemi Group kicks off 2014 with Development Management contract for 13-19 Leinster Square, W2

AG Press release, 20 January 2014

Alchemi Group has added The Umi Hotel, 13-19 Leinster Square, to its Prime Central London pipeline of luxury residential developments.

Subsequent to the purchase from The Lowy Group on Christmas Eve, by an entity belonging to the Angelo, Gordon & Co group, Alchemi Group will be appointed as Development Manager for the conversion & renovation of this Grade II listed building.

read more»

Alchemi Group will be seeking planning permission to restore this fine, stucco fronted terrace building to its original form as grand residences. Alchemi Group hopes to submit 13-19 for planning in May 2014. If successful it will provide approximately 4600m2 (49,000ft2) high-end interior designed space across 15-20 homes. This development complements Alchemi’s previous acquisition of 7-12 Leinster Square, which also operated as a hotel. That project is due to start on site in February 2014 and will be renovated into a Grand Apartment scheme with five townhomes and six lateral apartments.

Charlie Baxter, Managing Director of Alchemi Group commented;

"We're delighted to be appointed as Development Manager for our second hotel to residential conversion opportunity in Leinster Square. As the hotel is next door to our existing project, we're able (subject to planning) to convert almost the entire side of this Grade II listed square, which is extremely rare.

Being able to restore any building of national importance is an absolute privilege, and to do so in the heart of Central London is especially rewarding. We look forward to working with English Heritage, as we create some truly stunning interior designed residences."

ALCHEMI GROUP ANNOUNCES £97.5 MILLION ACQUISITION OF GREAT MINSTER NORTH

AG Press release, 4 October 2013

Alchemi cements its position in the prime Central London development market with the £97.5 million acquisition of Great Minster North (GMN) in Victoria, SW1.

read more»

Charlie Baxter, Managing Director of Alchemi Group commented: "GMN has huge potential and we are looking at all the options available to maximise shareholder value. This is a fantastic addition to Alchemi’s flourishing portfolio. Victoria is one of London’s up-and-coming office and residential locations and we are very excited to follow our 55 Victoria Street purchase last year with another such prestigious building."

GMN is currently 180,000 sqft of high quality offices arranged over basement, ground (17,200 sqft of retail) and five upper floors and is let to the Secretary of State for Transport.

The earliest lease break date is January 2015 if the tenant decides to exercise its break option in December 2013. DTZ will continue to manage the building in the intervening period.

GMN was a straightforward property purchase and completed on 3rd October 2013 through a company formed for the transaction, GMN No. 2 Limited.

Alchemi Group has been appointed as Development Manager for the redevelopment of this prestigious building. The Blackstone Group International Partners LLP provided £65 million of debt finance with the balance being funded by investor equity. Completion of the redevelopment is anticipated in 2018. DE&J Levy acted for the purchaser.

2013 is promising to be a stellar year for Alchemi. In May the Group announced Westminster Council had given the go-ahead for the conversion of the derelict Leinster Hotel on Leinster Square, W2, just weeks after approval was granted on the 54-unit 55 Victoria Street development and within a month of getting the nod on a 20-unit £9m office-to-resi scheme on Westbourne Park.

Development Focus

The Kensington & Chelsea Magazine, 19 September 2013

Annabel Harrison reports on the launch of an exciting new Prime Central London residence opposite The Royal Mews

read more»

The launch of an exclusive penthouse has been announced by the Alchemi Group together with Jones Lang LaSalle. It is located metres from the gates of Buckingham Palace and directly opposite the Royal Mews in Central London and is part of a larger 14 unit scheme which the Alchemi Group started developing in 2009. It is the last apartment available, on sale for £3,250,000, and Jonathan Whittle, Head of Sales at the Alchemi Group, comments: “This is a very special development; the last in the area to boast views over the Palace gardens and Royal Mews. It is immaculately finished and carefully designed to give you the best of apartment living in this historically rich area of London."

Comprising three bedrooms, three bathrooms and three roof terraces (one of which commands amazing views over the Royal Mews on Buckingham Palace Road) the penthouse apartment totals 1,750 square feet in size and it has been developed to the highest specification. Features include comfort cooling, a kitchen designed by Meson’s of Italy with appliances by Siemens, fitted wardrobes in all bedrooms (both the master and second bedroom have walk-in wardrobes) and bathrooms fitted with top of the range brands such as Dornbracht, Matki, Hansgrohe & Duravit.

Richard Osborne-Young at Jones Lang LaSalle added: "The Prime Central London market remains very active with interest from all over the world. The shortage of supply, particularly of newly developed properties ready to move into, has resulted in competition for the best apartments."

Magic planning run for Alchemi as Leinster Square development approved

Prime Resi - Journal of Prime Property , 20 May 2013

Property development group Alchemi is having a pretty strong run of it, bagging three major prime resi planning approvals within the last month. Just weeks after approval was granted on their 54-unit 55 Victoria Street development and within a month of getting the nod on a 20-unit £9m office-to-resi scheme on Westbourne Park, Westminster Council has given the firm the go-ahead for the conversion of the derelict Leinster Hotel on Leinster Square, W2.

read more»

The six stucco-fronted Grade II-listed terraced buildings at 7-12 Leinster Square, just off Hereford Road and Westbourne Grove, will be turned into five family town houses and six three-bed lateral apartments, ranging from 1,200 to 3,800 sq ft. It is, the developer claims, the first major resi development in the area since The Lancasters.

ALCHEMI GROUP ANNOUNCES THAT PLANNING CONSENT HAS BEEN ACHIEVED TO CONVERT 7-­12 LEINSTER SQUARE INTO HIGH END RESIDENTIAL HOMES.

AG Press Release, 15 May 2013

The re-­development of The Leinster Hotel, 7-­12 Leinster Square, W2, received planning consent last night (14th May 2013). Permission has been granted to create five family town houses and six 3-bedroom lateral apartments ranging from 1,200 ft2 to 3,800 ft2.

The Leinster Hotel currently comprises six stucco fronted terraced buildings, spread over basement, ground and four upper floors with a total area of circa 31,500/ft2 GIA.

read more»

Alchemi Group has been appointed as Development Manager by a consortium of Middle Eastern investors of JR Capital to convert this derelict hotel into 11 luxury homes. The Group will advise, recommend on and manage all aspects of the development process through detailed design and construction and on to the final sale of the homes. This approval by Westminster City Council is Alchemi’s third planning success in the space of a month.

Architects TateHindle have been appointed to work with Alchemi Group and together they are seeking to complete a sympathetic conversion by restoring these buildings to their original status, whilst respecting their Grade II listing.

Leinster Square has a rich history; the writer and ornithologist William Henry Hudson lived at number 11 in the 1870's. Hudson helped found The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) and became its first Chairman.

All the residents of these luxury homes will enjoy access to the historic and prestigious Garden Square.

The Property is located just off Hereford Road and the fashionable Westbourne Grove. This area of Bayswater was originally built as housing for the wealthy, but fell into decline in the twentieth century. It is now experiencing a renaissance as Westminster City Council support the conversion of poor quality housing back to high-end homes.

This will be the only high-end residential development in the area since the well-known Lancaster’s Development.

Charlie Baxter, Managing Director of Alchemi Group commented: "We are very excited that we have achieved planning consent for this iconic and prestigious property, which follows hot on the heels of our recent planning gained at nearby Westbourne House and 55 Victoria Street, SW1, last month.

The property offers us an opportunity to carry out a high quality conversion, showcasing our design skills in one of Central London’s historic garden squares. Conversions of listed buildings are always immensely rewarding as you are restoring part of London's heritage and there are only a limited number of garden squares in Central London. Residents with access are buying into an exclusive club."

Bayswater hotel conversion to resi’

Westminster Planning Magazine, 14 May 2013

Members approved an 11-unit residential scheme at 7-12 Leinster Square W2. The proposal was for nine three-bed and two four-bed dwellings. Officer Mark Hollington said: “There is a late rep from English Heritage allowing determination. This comprises six Grade II listed buildings. Six buildings are used as a hotel and it’s caused some harm to the architectural quality of the building.

read more»

“In land use the net increase in residential floorspace is 3,500sqm and requires an affordable contribution of 840sqm or 10 affordable housing units. A policy-compliant payment would be £3,011,000. This has been tested by the viability consultants.

It’s not viable to provide on-site and a payment in lieu of £1million will allow it to remain viable. The applicant has agreed to pay that. “No on street parking is provided and the applicant will pay £11,000 towards a review of parking. It’s considered a good scheme which will result in the restoration of these listed buildings."

Cllr Davis said: “I welcome the proposals. I am in favour of converting hotels to residential in this area. They are a decent size. Cllrs Burbridge said: “I think it looks fabulous and welcome the restoration of the houses. My main concern is Monmouth Road and I’m concerned about that fl at which is badly affected. Overall I’m in favour."

Cllr Boothroyd said: “I have no objections to the loss of the hotel. The Grade II listed building will be substantially improved and that’s a big benefit to the local area. The effect on light to Monmouth Road flat isn’t enough to warrant refusal."

Alchemi wins approval for SW1 resi conversion

Prime Resi - Journal of Prime Property, 8 May 2013

Alchemi’s plans to convert 55 Victoria Street from offices into 54 apartments (with a bit of retail on the ground floor) have been approved by Westminster Council, despite the designs being recommended for refusal by planning officers, who caused a bit of a brewhaha over a “too assertive" corner extension.

read more»

Stiff & Trevillion Architects drew up the scheme, which will create an eight, 10 and part 12-storey building with a new facade using different brickwork for each elevation, and terraces at the back. The current (“characterless") structure, on the corner of Victoria Street and Strutton Ground, is part four, part six and part nine storey.

Officer Matthew Mason: "It’s recommended for refusal on design grounds. There are elements which are acceptable. The recladding and infilling of the colonnade are considered acceptable. But we consider the additional height and bulk on the corner and Strutton Ground elevations is excessive and harmful to the setting of the adjacent conservation area. In all other respects it’s considered to be acceptable."

Councillor Cameron Thomson: “I am in favour of this development. The existing building is characterless. The offices are empty. The colonnade encourages rough sleeping so its infilling is welcome. We broadly welcome the redevelopment to residential given that in this part of the ward there is significant commercial development taking place in the area.

“It’s good quality residential accommodation and it’s offering new and important provision for the local community with the rear garden and we say the corner is a deliberate feature and there to impress."

Design officer Tom Burke: “We agree the corner is weak at the moment and there is scope to make it better but we think it could be achieved with something not as tall and out of context with the general character of that part of Victoria Street. What’s being proposed is far too assertive."

The application was approved by three-to-one, with a multi-milllion pound affordable housing contribution to go offsite.

ALCHEMI GROUP ANNOUNCES THAT PLANNING CONSENT HAS BEEN ACHIEVED ON ITS £9.0 MILLION OFFICE TO RESIDENTIAL CONVERSION IN WESTBOURNE GROVE, W2

AG Press Release, 17 April 2013

Alchemi Group (the fast growing Central London based property development company) is pleased to announce that it has received planning consent for its £9.0 million redevelopment of Westbourne House, Westbourne Grove, W2, which was acquired in July 2012.

read more»

Westbourne House currently comprises a high quality office and retail building arranged over basement, ground and five upper floors with a total area of 35,047 sq. ft. NIA.

Permission has been granted to create 20 one to three bedroom residential apartments, all with high ceilings and private outside space.

The consent also allows for a new 7th floor, which will form a spectacular penthouse apartment with excellent views.

The Group has been hired as Development Manager by a consortium of Middle Eastern investors for the conversion of this 1980s office building. The property was acquired for £19.1 million in July 2012. This represents a capital value of £544 per square foot on the existing Net Internal Area.

Architects Stiff & Trevillion have been appointed to work with Alchemi and have helped create a scheme that will add to the growing reputation of the area. Completion of the apartments is expected to be in 2015.

Westbourne Grove is an area currently experiencing terrific growth and is widely recognised as a prime Central London location. Charlie Baxter, Managing Director of Alchemi Group said: "I am delighted we have achieved planning consent for this exciting opportunity and I look forward to the improved building making a positive contribution to the area."

ALCHEMI GROUP ANNOUNCES THAT PLANNING CONSENT HAS BEEN ACHIEVED ON ITS £35 MILLION 54 FLAT OFFICE TO RESIDENTIAL CONVERSION SCHEME AT 55 VICTORIA STREET, SW1

AG Press Release, 17 April 2013

Alchemi Group (the fast growing Central London based property development company) is pleased to announce that it has received planning consent for its £35m 54 flat office to residential conversion scheme at 55 Victoria Street, SW1, which was acquired from Blackrock in March 2012.

read more»

The existing building is 57 000/ft2 NIA, and was let to the Secretary of State for Transport and paying an annual rent of £2.3m. The lease expired in June 2012.

The block includes a 5,336 sq ft unit let to NatWest bank until 2085. Two retail units totaling 2,286 sq ft are also part of the property.

Alchemi’s conversion scheme was approved on 16 April by Westminster Planning Committee, who praised the Group for the quality of its design, through Architects Stiff and Trevillion and permission was granted on a majority vote.

The Group has been hired as Development Manager by a consortium of investors for the conversion of this prestigious office building and completion of the apartments is expected to be in 2015. Strip out and demolition work has already commenced.

Charlie Baxter, Managing Director of Alchemi Group said: “Victoria Street is in one of London’s up-and-coming office and residential locations and I am particularly pleased that we have achieved planning consent for this landmark building, whose conversion will make a substantial contribution to the area."

Westbourne House remodelled for apartments

AG Press Release, 16 April 2013

A residential scheme at Westbourne House in Westbourne Grove W2 has been approved.

read more»

The proposal sought the recladding and remodelling of an existing office block and the conversion to provide 20 market residential apartments with associated ground and basement parking for 12 spaces including an additional storey at roof level. It also sought the retention of the ground and basement level bank unit and the creation of a new retail unit on part ground floor.

Officer Amanda Coulson said: “This is a 1970s building. It is of its time. The application is to remodel it. The upper floors are currently vacant. There is also a proposal to add a roof extension. It wraps around the back to the residential street.

“Twenty flats are proposed and a small shop will be put back. We welcome it as it will enhance the conservation area. It does involve a roof extension, however, we feel it’s acceptable. It’s well set back from the front and side elevations and that’s why we think it’s acceptable.

“The issues relate to the impact on the residents at the back. But the change to the profile of the building is very small and we don’t think it will have a harmful impact on the residents.

“Other issues are highways. We have had objections regarding car parking. There are 12 parking spaces and they will be accessed by a lift. This represents a 60 per cent coverage. The highways planning manager says it is not acceptable. SEBRA also objects. The applicants have offered car club membership for 25 years for the flats and we think it’s a reasonable provision as there is good public transport here. SEBRA says it’s not enough and they should pay for the two car club bays in the area but we don’t think it’s necessary.

“There are 20 flats and the mix is good. They are a very good size and all have good amenity spaces.

“Affordable housing is the tricky issue. This scheme doesn’t provide any affordable housing on site. So we come to the contribution. Originally £30,000 was offered by the applicant but that covered public realm improvements around the site as well. We felt it was low and asked our consultants to assess it. It was felt £500,000 was acceptable and the applicants upped their offer. As officers we prefer to have that money they have earmarked for public realm works to be in the affordable fund instead. SEBRA says it’s far too low and a contribution of £3.4million in line with policy would be better. We have to consider if it’s acceptable."

Cllr Davis said: “I am very excited by the design as it’s a very good high quality design and will be a great improvement to this area. The car club is sufficient.

“It comes down to affordable housing. I think we should insist on £800,000 for the affordable housing fund and that should include the public realm contribution. We should insist on £235,000 for public realm as part of that. We do need to improve the public realm around here and it’s vital we improve it as we get complaints from residents.

“We should insist on £235,000 for the public realm and £565,000 for the affordable housing fund. On that basis I would grant it."

Cllr Mitchell said: “What is proposed is an improvement. I note your point on the affordable and public realm contributions."

Cllr Burbridge said: “It’s a great improvement and we are getting more housing on site which is good news. I am happy with your suggestion on the public realm and affordable housing contributions."

Cllr Boothroyd said: “It’s a very interesting way of making what is a drab building more interesting. I can’t accept the contribution to the affordable fund."

Summing up Cllr Davis said: “By majority of three to one we grant this application subject to contribution of £235,000 public realm and £565,000 affordable housing."

Alchemi turn SW1 lead into resi’ gold

AG Press Release, 16 April 2013

Members overrule officers’ concerns over refurb’ design

Members have gone against officers’ advice and approved Alchemi Group’s mixed-use scheme to convert 55 Victoria Street SW1 from offices to 54 flats with retail and banking on the ground floor.

read more»

The proposal, by Stiff & Trevillion Architects, will create an eight, 10 and part 12-storey building with a new facade.

Officer Matthew Mason said: “Currently there are offices on the upper floors and a retail, dentist and bank uses on the ground. The proposal is to refurbish and remodel to provide 54 flats and retain the bank and a larger retail unit. The building is a part four, part six and nine-storey building outside the conservation area but next to the Broadway, Christchurch Gardens and Peabody Estates South Westminster Conservation areas.

“It is on the corner of Victoria Street and Strutton Ground. On the corner element it is increasing to 11 storeys - a six-storey increase. On Strutton Ground it’s going from ground and five, to ground and seven floors.

“The proposal also seeks to reclad the building in three different types of brick for the different elevations. Terraces are proposed at the rear of the building. It also includes the infilling of part of the colonnade to provide a larger retail unit.

“However, it’s recommended for refusal on design grounds. There are elements, which are acceptable. The recladding and infilling of the colonnade are considered acceptable. But we consider the additional height and bulk on the corner and Strutton Ground elevations is excessive and harmful to the setting of the adjacent conservation area. In all other respects it’s considered to be acceptable.

“The proposal requires an affordable housing contribution but it’s not provided on site. The applicants have put forward a payment of £2.45million, which has been assessed by our independent valuers. The applicants say it can’t support the £8million, which would make it policy compliant.

“Objections have come from residents in Old Pye Street. They are concerned about the additional bulk. There is a breach of guidelines but we feel on balance it’s acceptable on amenity grounds. Parking has raised concerns but refusal can’t be justified on those grounds."

In a representation ward councilor Cameron Thomson said: “I am in favour of this development. The existing building is characterless. The offices are empty. The colonnade encourages rough sleeping so its infilling is welcome. We broadly welcome the redevelopment to residential given that in this part of the ward there is significant commercial development taking place in the area.

“We are pleased to hear officers approve of some elements of the design including the rear of the building. We are not surprised to learn about the objection to the corner extension but it’s an important part of the design. They point out it remains broadly consistent with the height of neighbouring buildings. We take the point it’s in a conservation area but the residents in Christchurch Gardens are already overlooked.

“The concerns of residents in relation to the rear of the building aren’t surprising but a larger green space will be included and residents will be given access to that. We think the upgrade to retail accommodation will offer a great choice. Developers will make a contribution to infrastructure works on Strutton Ground and this contribution would be a significant help with a project the council has put off for a number of years.

“It’s good quality residential accommodation and it’s offering new and important provision for the local community with the rear garden and we say the corner is a deliberate feature and there to impress."

Design officer Tom Burke said: “We agree the corner is weak at the moment and there is scope to make it better but we think it could be achieved with something not as tall and out of context with the general character of that part of Victoria Street. What’s being proposed is far too assertive."

Cllr Davis said: “Officers are fully supportive apart from the dominance of the corner wing and the bulk. The real issue is to consider this corner part of design.

“I agree with Cllr Thomson. It’s an appropriate design and it’s what’s required in this location. It’s a key turning point in Victoria and the longer views of this building as we come up the street can take it and I feel it’s what is required. This street is full of large dominant buildings. I think this is an appropriate design that does give impact and I think it’s been designed very well. The rest of the design is very satisfactory and I like the brick. I am supportive of the application. I would expect appropriate S106 requirements and look for contributions to the Cathedral Piazza."

Cllr Mitchell said: “In terms of conditions I don’t agree with the funding for the piazza as it’s too far away and would rather funding went to Strutton Ground market which is immediately on the spot and I would like to see in the conditions the applicants promise for access."

Cllr Boothroyd said: “I like quite a few elements of the scheme including the infilling of the colonnade. I agree with the point about the office conversion. It’s not easy to convert to offices and there are other office developments in the area.

“On the main issue I am with officers. What’s proposed isn’t appropriate mostly because of the view you get looking down Strutton Ground. The effect on the street will be harmful. I would go for a refusal.

“I agree about not providing funding for the Cathedral Piazza. Strutton Ground market is a good cause but I would reject this."

Cllr Burbridge said: “I think it strengthens the corner. There is quite a lot of glass and I like the flow. I agree about the point of the piazza being too far away and the money going to Strutton Ground market.

“I like the offer of open space available to residents. The greening is very nice. I am happy about the affordable contribution."

Summing up Cllr Davis said; “We agree by majority of three to one in principle to this application. We can’t make a formal approval as we don’t have conditions. We also want a contribution to the public realm. In principle we agree it. We believe the corner building is appropriate and eye catching and a good way of finishing off that corner."

Alchemi Creative Director featured in Architect’s Journal

Architect's Journal, 1 November 2012

“I’ll bookmark firms I like"

Laura Marino, creative director at Alchemi Group, on collaboration, weathering the recession and office-to-residential conversions.

read more»

What schemes are you working on at present?

We have three schemes on the go, with a few more in the pipeline. We are working on two office-to-residential conversions in London at 55 Victoria Street and on Westbourne Grove, both with Stiff + Trevillion as architect. The third project was an abandoned hotel, which was about to go on an ‘endangered buildings’ list. It comprises a Grade II-listed row of six stuccoed terraced homes in W2. The residential conversion is being designed by architect Tate Hindle.

How have the past few years been for your business and how do you see the future?

The past three years have been intense and sometimes scary – but, overall, the most amazing of our careers. Fortunately, we have not only been able to find funding to back our projects, but we have also been able to grow our business fourfold and we are currently looking to hire more people.

How has the recession affected you?

That’s a big question for us. It has affected us in ways we couldn’t imagine. It has affected us in ways we could never have imagined. It has challenged us immensely by pushing us to figure out how to survive and work hard on a different level.

What do you look for in your architects and how do you find them?

Firstly, I look for willingness to collaborate with the client. The second thing I look for is complete aesthetic. I want the architect to have good taste. I find architects sometimes through word of mouth, but mainly through research. I’m constantly on the hunt and I’ll bookmark firms I like and follow their work for a while to see if it is in alignment with my tastes.

Will proposed changes to permitted development rights boost conversions of offices to residential use?

In London, yes, I believe it should do, because we are constantly hearing how there is a massive housing shortage, which looks set to continue for the next few years. Development is a competitive word already and I would imagine such proposed changes would encourage more people to jump on the conversion bandwagon.

Which of your projects is your favourite, and why?

That’s like asking which child is your favourite! I suppose it is the one I have been working on for the longest so far, our scheme at 55 Victoria Street. Not only is it a very exciting project, but the working relationship with Stiff + Trevillion has been excellent. It has been just the right balance of collaboration and trust. Exactly how a great scheme should be developed.

AG appointed as Development Manager on £20m Grade II listed development in W2

Estates Gazette, 25 August 2012

JR Capital has bought the 80-bedroom Leinster Inn, W2, from Carven Properties for £20m. Alchemi Group has been appointed development manager on the vacant hostel at 7-12 Leinster Square. It will be redeveloped as 20 luxury flats. Michael Sharron & Co acted for the buyer; Christie + Co represented the vendor.

Residential conversion buys spike in Q1

Estates Gazette, 14 April 2012

The number of West End offices bought for residential conversion has skyrocketed this year.

Figures from Allsop reveal that 14 out of the 39 West End assets sold during the first three months of 2012 were bought for residential redevelopment.

read more»

The number is already almost half that recorded last year, when 30 West End offices were sold for residential conversion, and eclipses the four office-to-residential sales completed in Q1 2011.

Nick Pemberton, partner in Allsop’s West End investment team, said: “Investor appetite for office-to-residential development stock is increasing as demand for flats continues in core locations, particularly from overseas.

“We are seeing developers working up plans on some large office buildings, often committing to purchasing these blocks without planning."

During the first quarter, developer Alchemi Group named Victoria, SW1, as its key target area for converting offices to residential properties, and purchased 55 Victoria Street for £35m. It is drawing up proposals to convert the offices into flats when the Department for Transport’s lease at the property expires in June.

A total of £880m of West End stock was traded in Q1 2012, according to Allsop’s figures.

Alchemi lays down £35m in SW1

Estates Gazette, 3 March 2012

Alchemi Group has paid BlackRock UK Property Fund £35m for 55 Victoria Street, SW1 – a 6.5% yield. The developer will now draw up plans to convert the 57,090 sq ft building into flats when the secretary of state for transport’s lease expires in June. DE&J Levy advised BlackRock; Alchemi was not represented.

Alchemi finds chemistry with £35m Victoria block

Property Week, 1 March 2012

A residential development company has bought a £35m office building from Blackrock on London’s Victoria Street, PropertyWeek.com can reveal.

Alchemi is believed to have exchanged contracts to buy 55 Victoria Street from the fund manager, in one of London’s up-and-coming office and residential locations.

read more»

The block was put up for sale through agents at DE&J Levy in October last year. The property comprises 49,468 sq ft of offices, which are let to the Secretary of State for Transport until June 2012, paying an annual rent of £2.3m.

The block also includes a 5,336 sq ft unit let to NatWest bank until 2085. Two retail units totalling 2,286 sq ft are also part of the property.

Alchemi is a London based property investor and developer with a number of projects around the West End including Victoria Chambers and at Westminster Palace Gardens.

All parties declined to comment.

DEVSECS' VICTORIA CONVERSION

Estates Gazette, 25 March 2011

Development Securities and Graham Shapiro’s Caenwood Ventures have won planning consent to refurbish the grade-II listed Westminster Palace Gardens building in London’s Victoria.

The pair, who bought the building in June last year for £10.1m, have appointed Alchemi Group to manage the project.

read more»

Alchemi focuses on office-to-residential conversions in central London.

The 75,000 sq ft horseshoe-shaped property comprises 29 flats, 30 offices and four shops. It will be converted into 49 flats, 13 offices and four shops over a two-year period.

The flats will be sold on long leases to take advantage of the rising prime central London residential market.

Shapiro is a consultant to Alchemi on all legal real estate matters, as well as being an investor.

He was previously the joint managing director and joint majority shareholder of AIM-listed Solitaire Group before its sale in 2007.

Alchemi was formed in 2000 by Charlie Baxter, his wife, Laura Marino and Jonathan Whittle.