Posted: 29th January
Transport for London turns property developer
Transport for London’s journey towards becoming a major property developer has reached a milestone with its announcement that over 300 acres of land will be made available for the building of 10,000 homes over the next decade. Two hundred of those acres will be in the highest value travel zones, 1 and 2.
At the start of the year, TFL said that up to 50 of its sites would be chosen for the first phase of redevelopment, in conjunction with six specialist firms – while another 25 sites will be developed with others outside that group.
Like a good property developer, TFL will structure their developments methodically and organise them into different phases.
The first phase of development is predicted to generate £1bn for TFL, which will be ploughed back into the capital’s underground system, trains and buses – all of which must deal with the pressures of London’s rising population – expected to hit 10 million by 2030.
The phase one sites have not yet been announced, but the area surrounding South Kensington station is expected to be among them, as are the top of Bermondsey station, the area around Oxford Circus station and areas around less well-known tube stations like Kidbrooke and Northwood.
A public consultation is also currently taking place about the best use for the derelict Parsons Green depot.
TFL will move straight on to finding candidates for phase two once the first 75 sites have been sold. This batch will cover the outer zones of the capital.
In a separate deal, TFL has entered into a joint venture with Development Securities to construct more than 300 residential units, shops and restaurants above and surrounding Southwark station.
TFL are ideally placed to become a property developer.
They currently own 5,700 acres of land, which amounts to nine square miles, larger than the whole London Borough of Camden. The first 300 acres could deliver 10,000 new homes, of which a proportion will be affordable. How many of these will be affordable will come down to the attitude of the local authorities, from which TFL will have to seek planning permission.
In January, TFL will announce a shortlist of potential companies to work with on the complex builds – many of which involve constructing homes around current transport infrastructure, without affecting the network.
TFL took its first step into becoming a property developer in March last year, joining with the Capital & Counties’ controversial Earl’s Court redevelopment, which will see hundreds of council tenants’ homes and the Earls Court Exhibition Centre demolished, along with a TFL maintenance depot.