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Style gurus offer sweetener in jam factory conversion

A property developer is enticing prospective buyers of flats to a £40 million conversion of a former jam factory in 'Sobo' - south of Borough, London - by uniquely lining up a list of young architects and designers for them to choose from to do the fit-outs of their brand new shells.

Angel Property is an outfit run by Charles and Spencer Style, the sons of '60s celebrity photographer David Style. The pair are converting the former Hartley's factory in Borough, south-east London, to establish 'a new landmark' south of the Thames in a creative area which they are branding as 'the new Clerkenwell', 'bohemian without trying too hard' and 'a 24-hour zone'.

The 27,000m 2scheme comprises 130 apartments which are available as fitted lofts with price tags of £200,000-£750,000. In a unique move, buyers will be invited to choose an off-the-peg 'Jam Factory fit-out' from a group of 12 'approved' architects and designers.

The architects and designers are: Azman Owens Architects; Ben Kelly Design; Block Architecture; Ian Simpson Architects; Paul Daly Design Studio; Softroom; Maya Vuksa Architecture and Design; Forster Inc; MMM Architects; Kate Wilkins Lighting Design; and Sophie Hicks.

'It's never been done before, ' said Spencer Style.

'We're taking the view that it is a set price and we are saying 'take your pick'. I think people are a lot more sophisticated than they're given credit for - there's a very design-conscious market out there.'

Style told the AJ that the venture would also allow exposure for the architects and designers, while buyers will benefit from having the 'added value' of well-known architects designing their individual spaces as well as the wider Jam Factory brand. He said the architects and designers concerned will get royalties, while costs to the buyers - of about £25/m - may be subject to change, depending on the wide mix of spaces and different shapes on offer.

The scheme as a whole is organised into five blocks with Ian Simpson Architects as the lead architect. It also includes 60-80 live-work units whose immediate popularity has surprised the backers of the scheme.

Another 'unique' part of the site is Jam Space - a 1,800m 2zone that will temporarily play host to media, arts and fashion events, including ballet, film and exhibitions - and one-time RIBA Stirling Prize judge Stella McCartney has already pledged to exhibit a fashion photography show there.

The residential units are on sale and 41 have already gone.A further two phases will follow with the other blocks and will include glass penthouses.

The venture was having its launch event to 'spread the word' about the Jam Factory on Tuesday night after the AJ went to press. But Style hopes to replicate the formula around the country.

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