Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Bid for a Luxury Home; (1) This [Pounds Sterling]200,000 Flat Could Be Yours for as Little as a Pound (2) Enter Our Great Competition to Win a Fabulous Berkeley Homes Flat beside the Thames

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Bid for a Luxury Home; (1) This [Pounds Sterling]200,000 Flat Could Be Yours for as Little as a Pound (2) Enter Our Great Competition to Win a Fabulous Berkeley Homes Flat beside the Thames

Article excerpt

MONDAY'S Evening Standard launched our autumn win-a-home competition. On offer is a fabulous prize: a brand-new Thames-side flat worth [pounds sterling]200,000, which one lucky Evening Standard reader will win.

The location of our prize home is Royal Arsenal in Woolwich.

This south-east London town has suddenly emerged as a residential hot spot, boosted by Mayor Ken Livingstone's Thames Gateway initiative.

Local planners are reuniting the forgotten waterfront with the town centre and, by 2007, the extended Docklands Light Railway will provide fast links to Canary Wharf and the City. Riverboat services to central London are also planned.

Royal Arsenal itself is an architectural gem, and the area's prime address.

Once an armaments factory, it has an impressive collection of historic warehouses and a quarter of a mile of river frontage. The entire 76-acre site, contained by an imposing boundary wall, is being turned into a mixed-use community of homes, small business premises, heritage attractions, shops, bars and restaurants.

Eventually, there will be more than 1,200 homes; ranging from loft-style apartments in converted warehouses to luxury new-build penthouses with spectacular views over the River Thames.

"There is a grandeur about the warehouses.

They were built to symbolise the British Empire and are superior to most others in Docklands."

Part of the site's attraction is its scale and formal street layout. As a military base, it operated as a self-contained town. At its peak, during the First World War, 88,000 people were employed there.

Manufacturing stopped in 1963, and the site finally closed in December 1994.

There are 26 listed buildings (including Georgian warehouses designed by Nicholas Hawksmoor). The emphasis is on refurbishment, but Berkeley Homes is building new apartment blocks, creating crescents and squares and a terrace of town houses overlooking a landscaped park.

Salvaged materials, such as old floorboards, beams and columns, are being reused, and brickwork sandblasted clean and left exposed.

Against this backdrop, Berkeley Homes is putting in crisp, contemporary interiors.

So, the development has all the classic ingredients of a place on the up: improving transport links, a regeneration dividend, fine architecture and a high design specification.

The combination has prompted many buyers to commit early to the area.

Already more than 400 people, mainly young singles and couples, live at Royal Arsenal. Canny investors have also spotted its potential.

"The DLR extension is a big draw; now everyone knows it is coming, which has really cemented confidence in the location," adds Grayson.

John Moser, 32, moved from Shad Thames to Royal Arsenal last January. "The area is going places, and I didn't want to miss out on the opportunity. …

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