Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Furniture to Sustainable Eco-Developer? IKEA to Build London Suburbs

Ikea has announced that it is moving into the property business as it reveals a new 26-acre development near the Olympic Park.  Strand East will contain 1,200 new homes, 480,000 square feet of offices and a 350-bedroom hotel in Stratford, east London.  It is the first major British development for LandProp, part of the Inter Ikea Group, which owns the intellectual assets of the furniture chain.  The company is believed to have paid about £25million for the site, which had previously been in receivership.  It is the second biggest private-sector project in the Olympic Park, after the Westfield Stratford City shopping centre which opened last month.  'Not only does it create a new high quality, waterside destination which provides new homes, jobs and leisure facilities, it is a demonstration of investor confidence in the area's future in a difficult market,' Olympic Legacy Minister Bob Neill said.  The development's canalside location has led to it being called a 'mini Venice', and it will boast a boat taxi service and a floating cocktail bar.  Politicians hope the Games will spark a wider regeneration of the area.

LandProp managing director Harald Muller said: 'We are hugely excited to be bringing forward these plans, we see Strand East as a place for families which contributes to the regeneration of Stratford and takes its place alongside the many neighbourhoods of London.' He added that although London would be the focus of its UK activities as 'the machine that will always work', the company was already assembling sites in undisclosed locations around the UK.  
The development company already operates in Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Holland among other countries.  
A public consultation on Strand East is about to begin and a planning application is due to be submitted to the London Thames Gateway Development Corporation in early 2012.

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