Offices turn back into mansions as London property prices soar

Offices turn back into mansions as London property prices soar

The desire for open plan offices has rendered the town house office conversion redundant, he added.

The appetite for mansions in the centre of London indicates a renewed appetite for luxury among the super-rich. “People want to buy the town house again,” said Wetherell. “They want sizeable areas for entertaining.

“When I was selling houses in the seventies, people just wanted flats, saying ‘I don’t want all these floors’. Now, they want the L-shaped reception room and formal dining room to seat 12 people.”

Wetherell revealed that his agency will see over 400 new residential units coming on the market in Mayfair alone over the next decade. This equates to 10pc of the available property in Mayfair. “It’s the biggest redevelopment boom in Mayfair since the twenties,” he said.

These new residential redevelopments are set to generate a lot of cash for Westminster Council. Under section 106 of the planning law, a Community Infrastructure Levy is payable on all offices being converted back to residential. “For some developments, that could mean as much as £500,000 will have to be paid,” said Wetherell.

While the trend may have started in Mayfair, a residential boom is also taking place across Soho, Fitzrovia, Marylebone and Tyburnia.

“Cross rail now goes all down Oxford Street,” explained Mr Wetherell. “People who don’t want to live far away from their office are moving closer in. Why waste time commuting when you could be working?”

After the First World War, many of the grand houses in central London were pulled down or turned into commercial buildings. The Dorchester hotel was one such town house. Formerly known as Hertford House and owned by Francis Seymour-Conway, the third Marquess of Hertford, it was demolished in 1929 by Sir Malcolm McAlpine, the founder of building giant Sir Robert McAlpine & Sons and rebuilt as The Dorchester.

The second wave of businesses arrived after the Second World Bar. “All the houses were left vacant after the Blitz and the businesses needed somewhere to go,” said Mr Wetherell.

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