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Comps insider: Summer call for Grosvenor Square ideas

Grosvenor square (1)
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With spring now upon us, summer’s long evenings and outdoor parties are a much smaller leap away. And while it may be tortuous to think about them now, Grosvenor has supplied a practical business reason to hold these thoughts a little longer

The property company of the 26-year-old Duke of Westminster has announced plans to hold an open public call for ideas to transform central London’s historic Grosvenor Square later this year.

The call for concepts is part of the multi-billion pound estate’s 20-year vision to transform the elite neighbourhoods of Mayfair and Belgravia into places that ‘appeal to the many, not just to the few’.

Key ambitions include upgrading green spaces, public realm and internet connections across the 120ha precinct, and delivering ‘new, adaptable buildings of world-class design’.

At its centre will be a revitalised Grosvenor Square, transformed into ‘a great garden square for Londoners’ fit for the 21st century. The Georgian square was one of the capital’s most fashionable residential addresses until the Second World War, when it became the headquarters of the US-led Allied invasion of German occupied Western Europe.

Today the square features a statue of Franklin D Roosevelt and Eero Saarinen’s US Embassy building, due to be transformed into a hotel by David Chipperfield Architects following the facility’s relocation to Nine Elms later this year.

For those keen to get their teeth into some meatier development in a pleasant seaside location, Bognor Regis’s ambitious new town-centre masterplan may be worth investigating.

The preliminary concept, drawn up by Kay Elliott, envisages 28,500m² of development including an eye-catching winter garden and new housing on the Arun District Council-owned Regis Centre and nearby Hothamton car park. The council is looking to partner with developers that have their own architects on board.

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