Mix It Up


Convenience is king in today’s society, with everything from restaurant quality food to organic groceries and multi-tasking homeware delivered straight to your door. Mixed use projects are seeing a similar rise in popularity with residents looking to live, work and play in their immediate locale. Luke Thomas tours three of London’s lead-by-example projects

According to London Mayor, Sadiq Khan, the capital needs 66,000 new homes a year, a 28% increase on 2013’s estimate of 50,000 new homes a year, to take account of population growth as well as projected employment growth on the back of the capital’s strong economic performance.

In 2016, Savills World Research revealed that an additional four million square foot of new office space would be needed per annum across London, the equivalent of 1% of existing stock at the time.

Combining the two with the equally alluring addition of retail, food and beverage outlets, seems like an obvious way forward, but in the past, many developers have simply paid lip service in their interpretation of the ‘mixed-use’ model by incorporating ground-floor retail space below block of flats without giving due consideration to the impact on the wider geographical area.

The rise of new asset classes and the decline of more traditional property investments has however had an impact on both the potential possibilities of mixed-use development. Given the country’s pressing need for housing, it should be no surprise that homes are often at the heart of mixed-use projects.

Higher residential values make it easier to stack up resi-led schemes from an investment perspective, while having hundreds – or thousands – of people living on your doorstep means guaranteed footfall for retail and leisure occupiers.

Meanwhile, for major corporates, it’s hugely attractive to be able to offer potential employees the ability to live just minutes away from the office. Build-to-rent works particularly well here, as renting requires a lot less upfront than buying not to mention increased flexibility. So which projects are leading by example?

Postmark, Mount Pleasant

Royal Mail is an institution in the UK, the classic red post-box synonymous with Britishness, whilst London is known as the hub of the postal service.

Taylor Wimpey Central London is transforming the 129-year old landmark Post Office Mount Pleasant sorting office, into Postmark, one of the most significant London schemes to come to the market this year, offering 681 apartments across 6.25 acres.

A historically important site, it has played an integral part in London’s history, managing up to four million letters a day and operating as a key communication hub during WW2. The famous “Rail Mail” tunnels, which distributed post throughout the capital, still run beneath the site today.

In a quirky turn of events, residents of Postmark will have a unique address where east meets west, as the development features four distinct phases, each one designed by a different architect to complement the architectural mosaic of the area. The six-year project is divided into two chapters: West Central 1, situated in the WC1 postcode of the site; and East Central 1, located in the EC1 postcode.

Phase one comprises a collection of studio, one, two and three-bedroom apartments, in a mix of lateral and duplex styles, set around a private courtyard. Residents will benefit from a range of lifestyle benefits, including a concierge and study area, a spacious roof terrace and lounge, along with a cinema and fitness studio.

Alongside 681 new homes, Postmark will also incorporate 20,000 square feet of carefully-designed commercial and retail/leisure space, and the ground floor will accommodate a number of retail and commercial units, creating a new public-realm space.

Postmark will also establish new pedestrian-only routes which connect the neighbouring areas, east to west. An inspired architectural approach, including taller buildings which mark public open spaces, will support wayfinding for visitors of the new neighbourhood.


The Brentford Project

A little less central than other areas of London, Brentford affords residents quick access to city life, but also the opportunity to hideaway in quiet suburbia.

This new mixed-use project from developers, Ballymore is the capital’s latest waterfront community, uniquely located at the meeting point of the River Thames and the River Brent.

Spanning over 11 acres, the scheme will deliver 876 residential apartments alongside extensive new public realm, retail, commercial, cultural and community spaces.

Inspired by the area’s rich urban, rural and industrial heritage, the project will establish a new town centre for Brentford and reconnect the high street with the waterfront via a series of characterful yards and lanes.

The scheme will open up the waterfront, which will be lined with an eclectic mix of restaurants, cafés and coffee shops, as well as an extension to the Thames path

In the lead up to launch, this summer saw a programme of cultural and community events hosted in the community’s dedicated events space, as well as the opening of Brentford’s latest eatery, on site - called Rye by the Water. At the culinary helm, is former Little Bread Pedlar baker, Janine Edwards, and Ben Rand, previously head chef at Clapham-based The Dairy, supported by Irish Masterchef judge, Robin Gill


Marylebone Square

One of the last open spaces to be developed in Central London - Marylebone Square will offer residents a truly unique place to live. The site which totals 0.75 acres, is the only new build whole city-block development opportunity in Marylebone, W1. Plans proposed include a new, dedicated space for the much-loved Farmers’ Market through the design of a large double-height hall, ‘Marylebone Hall’. On top of this, the development will boast a collection of 54 high-end apartments, carefully chosen boutiques and restaurants, and a versatile community hall.

Known for its distinctive red-brick Georgian architecture, Marylebone is a district that has carefully preserved its past – and Marylebone Square is a sensitive addition. A contemporary interpretation of a classic London mansion block, it blends into its historic home with a subtle modernity that enhances its surroundings. Externally, the building is a rich palette of glazed terracotta, with intricate yet robust cast metal balustrades adding a European sensibility to the design.

Marylebone High Street is known as “the hidden wonder of the West End” and was once voted best street by listeners of Radio 4. It’s also within walking distance of Bond Street and Oxford Street, London’s finest museums, theatres, art galleries and the splendour of Regent’s and Hyde Park.


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