Thursday 8 March 2012

Battersea Ahoy

An eagle eyed mole has drawn our attention to an extremely interesting and mouthwatering piece on the industry website

It speaks very much for itself and we print the piece in full below.  Chelsea, along with their lobbying at Earl's Court have clearly been busy over on the other side of the river....obvious hurdles exist when you consider the council's quotes in this piece but something 'beautiful' is nice to hear and the architect thinks he is on to a winner. Chelsea obviously have to bid for the grotesquely expensive site too.

Chelsea FC has 'beautiful' Battersea plan
8 March 2012 | By Joey Gardiner

Kohn Pederson Fox founder tells Mipim audience that scheme will ‘make the most’ of defunct power station.

Architect Kohn Pederson Fox said it has developed a “very beautiful scheme” for Chelsea Football Club to relocate to Battersea Power Station, which will retain an active use for the grade-II* listed structure.

Speaking at Mipim, KPF founder Gene Kohn said that the scheme, drawn up with Chelsea’s development partner Almacantar, would “make the most” of the defunct power station.

His comments came as the planned sale of the power station site by administrator Ernst & Young and the surrounding regeneration of the Nine Elms area of London was the main talking point at this year’s Mipim property festival in Cannes. The previous redevelopment plan, being taken forward by Real Estate Opportunities, collapsed into administration in November last year after it was unable to pay debts to Lloyds Bank and Irish bad bank NAMA. Chelsea’s move with Almacantar and KPF is so far the only publicly confirmed interested party in the site, valued at about £500m. Administrators were reported to be optimistic the sale would complete in the first half of 2012.

Kohn said: “We have a very beautiful scheme that presumes we’re making the most of the power station itself. It will have an active use for the power station, and I can’t think of much else that could make as good a use of it as we’re proposing.”

But Wandsworth council leader Ravi Govindia, also speaking at Mipim, downplayed the Chelsea bid, saying he was not aware of moves to bring the club to Battersea and questioned whether it would fit in with existing plans. “With the idea for a football stand, you have to wonder,” he said.

Battersea Power Station is the highest profile part of the Nine Elms redevelopment area, which is dependent on the construction of an extension to the Northern Line, and also includes the £500m US Embassy, the redevelopment of Covent Garden Flower Market, and the 1,870-home Nine Elms Parkside project by the Royal Mail, which received planning permission this week. Govindia said the Nine Elms Strategy Board, which governs the redevelopment of the area, could yet become a legally defined body with statutory powers to drive the plan.

There is also another, perhaps coincidental piece of news today which is that the mayor has set out his plans and conditions for the Battersea development area. It is a big document and you can find it here

We have only scanned it in a rudimentary way but one passage in it interested us...

The Mayor is in the process of producing four opportunity area planning frameworks
for West London, at Park Royal, White City, Earl’s Court and West Kensington
and Vauxhall Nine Elms Battersea. The Mayor wants to ensure that development
of these opportunity areas is sustainable and integrated and that crucially it can
be supported by the London transport network. TfL have produced a subregional
transport model to assess the longer term impacts of development and
identify mitigation measures. Each of the framework areas performs a different
function within the London economy. White City is anchored by the retail
offer at Shepherd’s Bush Metropolitan town centre and has potential for a
mixed use commercial centre focused on creative, media biomedical research and
development, as well as 4,500 new homes. The regeneration of Earl’s Court and West
Kensington will be residential-led with a new cultural destination
, and Vauxhall Nine
Elms Battersea will be integrated as a new mixed use part of the Central Activities
Zone. Park Royal provides an important strategic reservoir of industrial land which
offers an opportunity for the relocation of industrial uses displaced from the other
opportunity areas.

We are not sure how the Mayor's planning framework dovetails with the draft planning framework published by the two councils in west London and which Chelsea have been lobbying to include a stadium as part of the 'cultural' provision. It may well be that the cultural destination is simply the exhibition facility but as we have said before, the definition of  'cultural facility' has come to include a stadium in the minds of some working on the project....

An enticing yet still a little confusing picture is emerging of Chelsea keeping their options very much open.

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