Oxford Street is London’s busiest shopping street. But it could soon become one of London’s hottest residential addresses…
Lead image: Centre Point
Some 600,000 people visit Oxford Street every day – 30% from overseas – and it’s a spot that many live-long Londoners will think twice before visiting. The heat of the Central Line, the battle to get out of the tube station (why do people insist on stopping at the top of the stairs?), the heaving streets, the crowded stores…
The Christmas lights might be spectacular, but you’ll need to take a deep breath before tacking your Christmas shopping there.
But with more homes than shops being built on Oxford Street, it looks like the street could be set for a residential revolution.
The famous retail thoroughfare is currently undergoing a £1.06 billion building boom. A survey by Aston Chase, undertaken in association with Galliard Homes, a leading developer on Oxford Street, highlights that there are nine new residential or residential-led mixed use developments on or adjacent to Oxford Street, delivering 437 new homes, 84,939 sq ft of new retail outlets and more than 365,800 sq ft of new office premises.
Apartments for sale along Oxford Street are typically priced from £950,000 up to £4.5 million, and the nine residential-led projects changing the face of Oxford Street are as follows:
- Centre Point: 82 apartments and 39,000 sq ft of retail space
- 5-6 Hanway Place: 18 apartments
- Hanway Gardens: 18 apartments
- TCRW SOHO (Tottenham Court Road West Soho): 92 apartments and 9,939 sq ft of retail space
- 37 Rathbone Place: 140 apartments and 242,800 sq ft of office space
- 5 Berners Street: 6 apartments
- 103-109 Wardour Street: 15 apartments and a health club/gym
- Verge Mayfair: 12 apartments
- Marble Arch Place: 54 apartments, 36,000 sq ft of retail space and 123,000 sq ft of office space
The majority of this new residential-led development has taken place in the last five years, although Verge Mayfair, a scheme of 12 apartments fronting Oxford Street, were the first new homes developed on Oxford Street during the 21st century, launched by Oakmayne Bespoke in 2012 (prices from £950,000), followed by the 17-storey Marble Arch Place project in 2013.
But with annual retails sales on Oxford Street, Regent Street and Bond Street totalling an incredible £9bn, the area remains a key shopping destination for London, so new retail developments are key to retaining the area’s vibrancy.
Oxford Street, which is 1.2 miles (1.9km) long, running from Tottenham Court Road to Marble Arch via Oxford Circus, remains Europe’s busiest shopping street, with 248 shops (14 of which are vacant).
New retail outlets are being designed as entertainment venues and brand ambassadors, rather than traditional retail sales spaces, to ensure the area is somewhat future-proofed against the powerful draw of online retailers.
‘Pedestrianisation, Crossrail and electric vehicles are three major ‘game changers’ for Oxford Street, combining to create a cleaner, much less congested and quieter environment’
Plus, pedestrianisation, Crossrail and electric vehicles are three major ‘game changers’ for Oxford Street, combining to create a cleaner, much less congested and quieter environment. A factor that will be instrumental in creating a desirable place to live, too.
Last year Westminster City Council approved plans to close parts of Oxford Street to cars and buses at peak times and reduce the speed limit. The council has also set aside £150 million to revamp the area and create a new public square.
Oxford Street has a long history. It was originally built by the Romans, when it was known as Via Trinobantina, named after the local tribe that previously ruled the London area prior to the Roman invasion, and since then it has alternated between being predominately commercial and predominately residential.
It was from the 1830s onwards, and London’s huge economic growth during Victorian era, that Oxford Street was transformed into a famous retail address. The townhouses were turned into shops and between 1865-1890 Oxford Street underwent a large rebuilding programme. John Lewis opened on Oxford Street in 1864 and Selfridges opened in 1909.
Could it be that the property cycle is turning full circle and will become more residential, like it was during the 18th Century?
‘Currently, Oxford Street is relatively underpriced compared to neighbouring Mayfair and Marylebone. An uplift will come in property values as electric cars, Crossrail and pedestrianised areas bring dynamic change’
‘The new Oxford Street survey shows that there are now as many homes being built along Oxford Street as shops,’ says David Galman, Sales Director at Galliard Homes. The location is undergoing significant regeneration and becoming more residential in character.
‘Currently, Oxford Street is relatively underpriced compared to neighbouring Mayfair and Marylebone. An uplift will come in property values as electric cars, Crossrail and pedestrianised areas bring dynamic change.
‘Over the next five years we see the famous throughfare becoming one of London’s most sought after residential addresses.’
Mark Pollack, Co-Founding Director at Aston Chase, adds: ‘During the 18th Century Oxford Street was a residential address and the return to more housing provision is perhaps not surprising given that Oxford Street fronts onto Mayfair, Marylebone and Fitrovia, all of which are established, highly desirable, residential addresses.
‘Technology and the internet have also changed the face of retailing. Advances in logistics mean that stores no longer require large stockroom areas on their upper floors, so new development can provide retail on the ground and basement levels, with new apartments above.’
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