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GRID floats overhaul for ‘London’s ugliest tower’

GRID Architects is masterplanning the £30 million overhaul of Archway Tower – though to be the most disliked tall building in the capital

The Southwark-based studio is working up plans to transform the 16-storey Brutalist skyscraper into 100 flats for rent.

The outfit is working for developer Essential Living which plans to replicate the surge in multi-family lettings happening across the pond by delivering 5,000 homes in the London and South East region.  

Completed in 1963, the 60m-tall tower on top of Archway Underground Station was used by the Department for Social Security during the 1980s but fell vacant in 2012 after the Office of the Public Guardian was relocated to Birmingham.

English Heritage previously earmarked the building for demolition but plans to flatten the structure – estimated to cost between £15 million and £20 million – floundered. Plans by BDP to replaced the building with a large supermarket were abandoned in 2007 amid local opposition.

The major regeneration project has been announced just weeks after new rules allowing change of use from B1 to C3 without planning permission came into effect.

Essential Living acquired the building’s leasehold for £6 million from Valad Property Group and is backed up by $200 million of equity from US institutional fund-manager M3 Capital Partners.

Essential Living executive director Scott Hammond said: ‘With ownership properties out of reach for most Londoners, there’s a huge need for professionally managed rented homes perfectly positioned above key transport links.

‘We are looking to draw on the experiences and successes gained from  the American rental model which designs homes specifically for rent and is far more workable than buying up existing homes that developers haven’t been able to sell.’

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