Greenwich Peninsula: Background3
Owners, Experiences, New Masterplan, Costs & Timescales5
Most 15 Useful Resources..8
Greenwich Peninsula Development
Mega construction projects last longer, consume budgets and are controversial. This applies to greenfield and brownfield projects. In opting for a completely new development or a regeneration project, multiple stakeholders are involved and, as project progress unfolds, conflicting interest further overlap and evolve. The Greenwich Peninsula development is an ideal example of a long-range mega regeneration project. Conceived as New London, Starting started off as an entertainment venue – against a backdrop of a successful Millennial Dome – Greenwich Peninsula development has evolved into a multi-phased, increasingly upscale business venue and luxurious residential housing project. The increasing pace of international buyers, mostly Chinese nouveau riche, has, moreover, raised doubts about earlier political promises of affordable housing and City of London's commitment to upkeep area's historical lure in delivering a regeneration project. Interestingly, project developer is Hong Kong-based Knight Dragon. That a foreign-based developer offers affordable housing – after City of London's planning and development permissions – for Londoners has long raised doubts among local residents, political parties and independent activist actors. Further unfolding as a project catering for more affluent customers – given seedily increasing rates since inception – Greenwich Peninsula development project has emphasized doubts about project's future direction. Still, Greenwich Peninsula development project is not short of benefits including, for example, job creation, land reuse, and financial benefits for local borough council and City of London. In order to better understand Greenwich Peninsula development project, accordingly, a broader look is required into project's background, stakeholders and implications. This report – commissioned by Aecom – aims, hence, to explore specific issues on Greenwich Peninsula development project namely, UK Government's action, progress, revised masterplan, stakeholder concerns and most useful resources.
The report is made up of five sections: (1) Greenwich Peninsula: Background, (2) Progress, (3) Owners, Experiences, New Masterplan, Costs & Timescales, (4) Concerns and (5) Most 15 Useful Resources. The Greenwich Peninsula: Background section is a brief coverage of Greenwich Peninsula's history, development plans since 2000, original masterplan and site owners. The Progress section covers work progress in project including completed, in-progress and upcoming developments. The Owners, Experiences, New Masterplan, Costs & Timescales section discusses profiles of current owners, experiences of project progress and impact, revised masterplan, property costs and delivery deadlines. The Concerns section covers project implications for multiple stakeholders including local residents, Royal Borough of Greenwich and MP. The Most 15 Useful Resources section includes a justified list of resources shown of particular interest or usefulness in compiling present report.
GREENWICH PENINSULA: BACKGROUND
The Greenwich Peninsula has a long industrial history. Having direct access to Thames, Greenwich Peninsula witnessed export and import booms, particularly in rope making, cable making, soap, linoleum and gas manufacturing (Greenwich Peninsula, n.d.a). The Industrial Revolution has, however, made Greenwich Peninsula less significant as more motorized freight methods – on ground and by air – came to replace more conventional means, bringing economic activity – and hence housing booms – in Greenwich Peninsula into a long slumber. This inactivity has, fortunately, marinated area's historical character, particularly in Riverway Area and hence preserving historical housing architecture character back to early 1800s (Greenwich Peninsula, n.d.a). The advent of a new millennium has marked a new start for Greenwich Peninsula. In a bid over history and location, Greenwich Peninsula was chosen as a preferred spot for Millennium Dome in 2000 (Greenwich Peninsula, n.d.a). Initially, Greenwich Peninsula was home to a world-class entertainment venue, renamed The O2, hosting some notable events including 2012 Olympic Games (Greenwich Peninsula, n.d.a). In early 2000s, Greenwich Peninsula was only minimally used and was not imagined as a mega development project.
However, in 2004 an outline permission was granted to Terry Farrell practice for a "large mixed use urban development project" on Greenwich Peninsula ("Development area: Greenwich Peninsula," n.d.). The original masterplan was largest in Europe, covering 1.4 million square meters (346 acres) of undeveloped land and including development projects as: over 3,800 affordable dwellings, over 10,000 new homes, including student and special-needs housing, over 3,000 square meters of office space, a new business park, 300- and 500-bedroom hotels, let alone creating 25,000 jobs in commercial and retail businesses ("Development area: Greenwich Peninsula"). Thus, in early 2000s – particularly until 2004 – Greenwich Peninsula remained a largely unused wasteland save for a small parcel, The O2, developed for sports and entertainment purposes. Later developments in Greenwich Peninsula have not only introduced changes in how Greenwich Peninsula has been originally conceived by Terry Farrell but also, probably more significantly, in ownership structure, strategic partnerships and development plans and expansion.
Following long negotiations between City of London and developers, and after granting permission to Terry Farrell's masterplan, Greenwich Peninsula Regeneration Limited (‘GPRL’) was formed as a 50-50 joint venture by Quintain and Lend Lease in 2007 in order to manage development projects on Greenwich Peninsula ("Timeline," n.d.). This venture has resulted in a number of, mainly commercial, projects including, for example, units in Mitre Passage and Ravensbourne College in 2010 ("Timeline"). In 2012, residents moved into Bellway phase, Emirates Airline introduced cable car, Olympics hosted at The O2 and, most notably, Knight Dragon bought 60% share in GPRL ("Timeline"). In 2013, as a majority stakeholder, Knight Dragon started reshaping Greenwich Peninsula project by launching a 506-apartment development project as AEG initiated a mixed use building of hotel and residential units ("Timeline"). The same year sealed Knight Dragon's full ownership in GPRL by acquiring remaining 40% stake and renaming GPRL Knight Dragon Developments Limited ("Timeline"). In 2014, numerous mega projects were launched including, mainly, Gateway Pavilions, Cable & Roper and The Lighterman ("Timeline"). This development pace would continue to expand and rise in height and price as more principle developers and contractors join in.
The Greenwich Peninsula project is a mega one projected for completion in 2040 (Thompson, 2015). As such, only partial deliveries are made in commercial and residential units in different initial phases across numerous projects. On September 20, 2014, for example, Knight Dragon released first 200 residential units at prices spanning £250,000 (for studios) and £1.7m (for 2,500 sq ft, 3-bedroom penthouses) at a completion date set in early 2017 (Sebag-Monteflore, 2014). Moreover, a flagship residential project, No.2 at Upper Riverside, offers 35 "limited-edition" apartments on sale as a sneak peek into Tom Dixon Edition offerings (Thompson). The development is still in in-progress phase and actual occupancy is projected in fall/winter 2018 at £400,000 and £2.1million for studios and penthouses respectively (Thompson). (Further discussion of costs and deadlines is under "Owners, Experiences, New Masterplan, Costs & Timescales".)
The Greenwich Peninsula mega project's website ("Greenwich Peninsula," 2016) offers glimpses into progress and ongoing activities. For example, in addition to No. 2 Upper Riverside by Tom Dixon ("No.2 Upper Riverside: Tom Dixon Edition," n.d.), scheduled for occupancy in fall/winter 2018 as noted above, residential properties are offered up for inquiry (no deadline or prices specified) such as The Waterman (sold out), Waterman Gardens (sold out), The Fulmar (sold out), The Norton (sold out), The Moore (sold out) ("Property," n.d.). The recreation component has a major part in Greenwich Peninsula. Notably, N1GOLF, opened since July 1st, 2015, offers lush 60-bay driving range in close proximity to The O2 as part of a 15,000 residential unit plan over 180 acres ("Greenwich Peninsula Golf Range," 2015). Notably, major landmarks and projects are announced in a visually appealing manner on project's home page including, for example, Meridian Quays, Film & Media Studios, Parkside, Brickfields, Lower Riverside, Upper Riverside, The Jetty and Emirates Air Line cable car ("Greenwich Peninsula," 2016).
OWNERS, EXPERIENCES, NEW MASTERPLAN, COSTS & TIMESCALES
As noted, Greenwich Peninsula is a multi-phase, decades-long project which has experienced different conceptions since initial outline permission in 2004. This evolution is currently reflected in present ownership structure. If anything, Greenwich Peninsula started off as an affordable housing projected aimed at middle income customers, mainly young professionals who usually promote grassroots creativity and cultural innovation (Sebag-Monteflore). By assuming 100% stake in Greenwich Peninsula development, Knight Dragon has gradually changed – under Royal Borough of Greenwich's watch – Greenwich Peninsula initial conception into a more luxurious gated community (as will be shown shortly). Given how Knight Dagon has come to expand her strategic partnerships across project board (as will be shown under "Most 15 Useful Resources"), owner – let alone local resident – experiences fall mainly into a concern category (as will be explained away in further detail under "Concerns"). The approval of a new masterplan has but changed project's conception dramatically.
On September 8, 2015 a new updated masterplan has been approved by a Royal Borough of Greenwich planning board (Broadbent, 2015; "London's biggest development at Greenwich Peninsula approved," 2015). According to new approved masterplan, residential units were increased from 10,000 to 15,000 units (Broadbent). The new plan is a coordinated effort of Mayor of London, Royal Borough of Greenwich and project developers, including Knight Dragon (Broadbent). The new updated regeneration plan includes: 13,000 new homes, a new 40,000-square-meter film studio, 60,000 square meters of new business space, 24,000 square meters of new retail/food/drink space, one or possibly two new hotels and a new 20,000-square-metre visitor attraction ("London's biggest development at Greenwich Peninsula approved"). The most controversial component of all in new masterplan (as will be shown shortly) is proposed new homes which, according to residents, native and new, obscure area's historical allure and, notably, hide The O2 area by high-rise buildings of 40 floors or more when viewed from Greenwich Park (Broadbent) – let alone becoming increasingly non-affordable and sold out for international (particularly Chinese) buyers.
The new approved masterplan has increased cost up to £8.4 billion, including homes (22.7% affordable), office spaces, schools, stores, community amenities as well as a film studio (Broadbent). Moreover, Greenwich Peninsula regeneration project is a mega project of multiple phases and decades-long execution deadlines, as noted above. Accordingly, proposed deadlines – and, for that matter, costs – are only indicative. Broadly, commercial units started operations long before residential units. In 2010, commercial units opened in Mitre Passage; in 2012, early residents moved into Bellway Phase I; and in 2014, Gateway Pavilions, Cable & Roper and The Lighterman developments opened ("Timeline"). The project's anticipated delivery is set in 2040 (Thompson). However, given numerous delays and not least most recent updated masterplan, deadlines can be more properly identified on a phase-by-phase (instead of project-by-project) basis. For No.2 at Upper Riverside (by Tom Dixon), 35 "limited edition" apartments are now up for sale, as noted above. Full scale actual occupancy is anticipated in fall/winter 2018 (Thompson). Similarly, Knight Dragon offered 200 units on September 20, 2014 at a completion date projected in early 2017 (Sebag-Monteflore). The project's website does not offer specific deadlines for on-going or upcoming developments – only basic information about architecture, design, size, amenities and an "Enquire" form ("Property").
The Greenwich Peninsula regeneration project has since inception generated much controversy, let alone criticism. This has become more vocal by Knight Dragon's assumption of full ownership stake in project management. The concerns driven by project are broad and involve multiple stakeholders. For current purposes, focus remains on concerns of local residents, local authority and MP. If anything, each stakeholder voices specific concerns underlying increasing expansion plans and implications for future projects. The discussion of concerns here does not by any means aim to produce and/or support any given view. Instead, objective expression of each stakeholder's view is maintained. This is achieved by presenting each stakeholder's view and in accordance to respective interest. Moreover, given how much good – and bad – press Greenwich Peninsula regeneration project has received, a balanced, more critical presentation of as much views as possible is apt to inform debate about Greenwich Peninsula in a more constructive way. Not least, by assuming an unbiased position in appraising Greenwich Peninsula regeneration project, Aecom would be better able to pursue (or not) a similar business line in different areas world over not only for business profitability and brand management purposes but, in accordance to more sustainable business practices, for broader community stewardship and good. The ensuing presentation of each stakeholder's concerns is, accordingly, aimed to inform decision-making process in medium and longer ranges.
For local residents, growing concerns are becoming more voiced as regards overdevelopment and inadequate local services (Broadbent). Against a backdrop of an updated masterplan (involving a 5,000-unit hike), a number of resident societies – including, for example, Greenwich Society, Westcombe Society and East Greenwich Residents Association – are making a case against even more homes proposed by Knight Dragon when current infrastructure, transport, and road network are overstretched (Broadbent). This view has, in fact, reasonable justifications on ground. Given how Knight Dragon has engaged multiple, major partners across different projects and phases, funding regeneration o area's infrastructure and communications remains largely an unanswered question. The updated masterplan includes only minimal budgetary notes on proposed public works and road networks. The Greenwich Peninsula regeneration project offers, indeed, perceived benefits. These benefits – set against increasing unit prices and growing numbers of international buyers as will be shown shortly – fade away. By comparing early plans and conceptions of "affordable" housing, current scheme appears to not only erode initial plans but also to cannibalize historical value of Greenwich Peninsula – a business pursuit not aligned to Aecom's. This should not – again – deter Aecom from pursuing similar projects provided precautionary measures are considered for (particularly staying consistent as much as possible to initial plans and accommodating local concerns).
For MPs, similar concerns are aired. For example, New Greenwich MP Matt Pennycook, after pointing to projects undeniable benefits (e.g. a new transport hub), believes Knight Dragon's accelerating pace of property development (as announced by Royal Borough of Greenwich) burdens Greenwich Peninsula's infrastructure, increases population density dramatically and, not least, sets in motion deeper changes in more conventional housing patterns unaccounted for in new scheme (Broadbent). Pennycook expands on his criticism by comparing Greenwich Peninsula regeneration project to major regeneration schemes which evolve over extended periods and depart gradually from initial conceptions (Hill, 2015). Moreover, a long list of variables has helped change Greenwich Peninsula regeneration project at a deeper level including: growing hikes in property prices, steady flux of international nouveau riche and established capital, UK government's decision to cut affordable housing grant by 60% in 2010, introducing Affordable Rent system and Mayor of London's reduction of affordability objectives (Hill). These variables have not only changed Greenwich Peninsula projects nature but have, more significantly, made a socially inclusive, integrated and sustainable generation more elusive and less affordable (Hill).
This view by Pennycook has specific merits. Political bias aside, Pennycook offers a particularly interesting critique of handling Greenwich Peninsula regeneration project from a business perspective. Notably, by emphasizing how multi-phase, decades-long projects evolve over prolonged periods, Pennycook is, in fact, addressing a business concern in current global ecosystem. Specifically, multi-phased, decades-long projects usually seek funds from international institutions justified in fund application by "community development". Given current projects at a global scale, Pennycook's argument has reasonable groundings. If anything, most-in-need communities or ones lacking significant infrastructure services compared to different communities nationally or internationally – particularly ones occupying high prime locations – are usually contested battlefields of local, national and global developer practices. Similarly, initial developers of Greenwich Peninsula have been granted approval for development schemes aimed, primarily, at area regeneration and providing affordable housing. In balancing out business and community needs, Aecom should not lose sight of project evolution over project's lifecycle.
For local authority (mainly City of London and Royal Borough of Greenwich), Greenwich Peninsula regeneration project is, mainly, a coffer-filling project. In usual response to local resident protests and MP criticisms, City of London (and Royal Borough of Greenwich) emphasize project's benefits and mainly downplay negative effects. For local authority (i.e. permission grantor), Greenwich Peninsula is, according to Greenwich Design Review Panel, one whose plan would not only bring a large land parcel into reuse but also develop The O2 area into a new, more prosperous community (Broadbent). Moreover, according to Royal Borough of Greenwich, local community is apt to get benefits amounting to £110-£115 million of funding as per Section 106 agreement and Community Infrastructure Levy, jobs and, not least, affordable housing ("London's biggest development at Greenwich Peninsula approved"). From a public administration perspective, local authority's position is justified by securing funds and improving local infrastructure. The conflict between local community and MP views discussed and local authority's does not only undercut a persistent divergence on public funding but also on how a funding source should not grow steadily as to compromise one or more stakeholder group interests. For Aecom, public policy, community and authority engagement are issues which should be well considered for prior to actual implementation.
MOST 15 USEFUL RESOURCES
This report has been produced after extensive research. In so doing, numerous resources have been reviewed, critiqued and/or consulted. Further into research, few resources, notably 15, have emerged as most useful. In what follows, report author cites 15 most useful resources, each justified for usefulness.
If anything, Greenwich Peninsula website ("Greenwich Peninsula," 2016) is one most useful website. If anything, project's website offers handy information about completed and/or going sub-projects, well organized and presented visually. The website lacks, however, specific deadlines and cost estimates, as mentioned above.
The Warf (Broadbent) has been particularly useful. By offering multiple views of different project stakeholders, report author has been able to identify main convergence (and divergence) points on Greenwich Peninsula project.
Hill (2015) has been useful from a critical point of view. By critiquing how public money is made, Hill offers an insightful argument into ongoing trade-offs between capital and local community needs and sustainability.
Knight Dragon's – project developer's – website ("Timeline") has been useful in offering a succinct timeline for projects main milestones, joint ventures and, not least, evolution.
Atkins Global website ("Greenwich Peninsula," n.d.b) has been useful – equally as similar websites cited below shortly – in offering report author an insider's knowledge of a key partner's role in Greenwich Peninsula regeneration project.
Kollewe (2012) has shown usefulness in uncovering funding and partnership patterns, particularly as regards Knight Dragon's rise as project's sole owner.
Greenwich Peninsula Golf Range (Greenwich Peninsula Golf Range) has been useful in developing report author's understanding of project's changing nature from one of affordability into one of increasing affluence as more recreational amenities and facilities, including golf, are planned.
N1Golf (N1Golf, 2016) has been useful in a similar fashion to Greenwich Peninsula Golf Range in advancing report author's understanding of project's changing nature but also of Knight Dragon business partners.
As well, Transport for London ("Emirates Air Line," n.d.) has been useful in understanding a key transport project by a strategic partner (Emirates Air Lines) but also key business partners of Knight Dragon.
Mace Group ("Knight Dragon selects Mace as preferred bidder for next phase of development at Greenwich Peninsula," 2015) has been useful in developing further insights into Knight Dragon business partners.
Thomas Matthews ("Greenwich Peninsula Signage," n.d.) has been useful in developing key insights into Knight Dragon business partners.
Morrisroe ("Greenwich Peninsula," n.d.c) has – again – been useful in developing key insights into Knight Dragon business partners.
Green Peninsula London ("Greenwich Peninsula Developments," n.d.) has been particularly useful for report author in offering accessible visual content of projects across different social media platforms, mainly Flickr and Instagram.
Royal Borough of Greenwich ("Cable car from North Greenwich," n.d.) has been useful in offering insights into official initiatives and information Services provided by local authority Including Emirates Air Line cable car
Finally, Green Party ("The Greenwich Peninsula – Home for the Jet-Set?" 2015) has been particularly useful in developing report author's understanding of project's evolving nature from affordable to luxurious, particularly from a political perspective.
Broadbent, G. (2015). 15,000-home Greenwich Peninsula masterplan is passed. The Wharf, 9 September [Online]. Available from: http://www.wharf.co.uk/news/local-news/15000-home-greenwich-peninsula-masterplan-10018984 [Accessed: January 2nd, 2016]
Cable car from North Greenwich (n.d.). Royal Borough of Greenwich [Online]. Available from: http://www.royalgreenwich.gov.uk/info/200096/tourism_and_travel/1247/cable_car_from_north_greenwich [Accessed: January 2nd, 2016]
Development area: Greenwich Peninsula (n.d.). Royal Borough of Greenwich [Online]. Available from: http://www.royalgreenwich.gov.uk/info/200079/regeneration/136/development_area_greenwich_peninsula [Accessed: January 2nd, 2016]
Emirates Air Line (n.d.). Transport for London [Online]. Available from: https://tfl.gov.uk/modes/emirates-air-line/ [Accessed: January 2nd, 2016]
Greenwich Peninsula (n.d.a). Royal Borough of Greenwich [Online]. Available from: http://www.royalgreenwich.gov.uk/info/200064/local_history_and_heritage/148/greenwich_peninsula [Accessed: January 2nd, 2016]
Greenwich Peninsula (n.d.b). Atkins Global [Online]. Available from: http://www.atkinsglobal.com/en/projects/greenwich-peninsula [Accessed: January 2nd, 2016]
Greenwich Peninsula (n.d.c). Morrisroe [Online]. Available from: http://www.morrisroe.co.uk/greenwich-peninsula/ [Accessed: January 2nd, 2016]
Greenwich Peninsula (2016). Greenwich Peninsula [Online]. Available from: http://www.greenwichpeninsula.co.uk/ [Accessed: January 2nd, 2016]
Greenwich Peninsula Developments (n.d.). Greenwich Peninsula [Online]. Available from: http://www.greenpen.london/photos/ [Accessed: January 2nd, 2016]
Greenwich Peninsula Golf Range (2015). Greenwich Peninsula Golf Range [Online]. Available from: http://www.greenwichpeninsulagolfrange.com/ [Accessed: January 2nd, 2016]
Greenwich Peninsula Signage (n.d.). Thomas Matthews [Online]. Available from: http://thomasmatthews.com/project/greenwich-peninsula-signage/ [Accessed: January 2nd, 2016]
Hill, D. (2015). What next for the Greenwich Peninsula? The Guardian, 26 January [Online]. Available from: http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/davehillblog/2015/jan/26/what-next-for-the-greenwich-peninsula [Accessed: January 2nd, 2016]
Knight Dragon selects Mace as preferred bidder for next phase of development at Greenwich Peninsula (2015). Mace Group, 15 September [Online]. Available from: http://www.macegroup.com/media-centre/knight-dragon-selects-mace-as-preferred-bidder-for-next-phase-of-development-at-greenwi [Accessed: January 2nd, 2016]
Kollewe, J. (2012). Hong Kong developer invests £500m in Greenwich peninsula project. The Guardian, 18 June [Online]. Available from: http://www.theguardian.com/business/2012/jun/18/hong-kong-developer-greenwich-peninsula [Accessed: January 2nd, 2016]
London's biggest development at Greenwich Peninsula approved (2015). Royal Borough of Greenwich, 9 September [Online]. Available from: http://www.royalgreenwich.gov.uk/news/article/531/londons_biggest_development_at_greenwich_peninsula_approved [Accessed: January 2nd, 2016]
N1GOLF (2016). N1GOLF [Online]. Available from: http://www.n1golf.com/london/ [Accessed: January 2nd, 2016]
No.2 Upper Riverside: Tom Dixon Edition (n.d.). Greenwich Peninsula [Online]. Available from: http://www.greenwichpeninsula.co.uk/enquire-tom-dixon/ [Accessed: January 2nd, 2016]
Property (n.d.). Greenwich Peninsula [Online]. Available from: http://www.greenwichpeninsula.co.uk/property/ [Accessed: January 2nd, 2016]
Sebag-Monteflore, C. (2014). London's Greenwich Peninsula: the 10,000-regenration scheme. Financial Times, 17 October [Online]. Available from: http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/ba600c22-55b7-11e4-b750-00144feab7de.html#slide0 [Accessed: January 2nd, 2016]
The Greenwich Peninsula – Home for the Jet-Set? (2015). Green Party, 30 April [Online]. Available from: https://greenwich.greenparty.org.uk/news/2015/04/30/the-greenwich-peninsula-home-for-the-jet-set/ [Accessed: January 2nd, 2016]
Thompson, H. (2015). Greenwich Peninsula apartments: first look. The Telegraph, 10 April [Online]. Available from: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/luxury/design/67575/tom-dixon-designs-the-first-apartments-for-greenwich-peninsula.html [Accessed: January 2nd, 2016]
Timeline (n.d.). Knight Dragon [Online]. Available from: http://www.knightdragon.com/greenwich-peninsula/timeline [Accessed: January 2nd, 2016]