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Make’s Helix scrapped as Apt plans 46-storey tower for east London site

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Make’s design for two towers connected by ‘wishbones’ has been ditched as Apt unveils plans for a 49-storey tower on the same east London site

The 404-home Helix scheme was given permission in 2008, with tweaks by Darling Associates consented seven years later after contractor Multiplex was appointed to build the towers.

But the 0.4ha site by Billingsgate fish market north of Canary Wharf was later sold by build-to-rent developer Essential Living in 2018 without major construction work having started.

Now architect Apt is set to submit a planning application for a large student housing campus on behalf of Urbanest and University College London (UCL).

A pre-planning application by the practice asks planners at Tower Hamlets Council to consider three towers standing at 28, 36 and 46 storeys tall.

The early design, which will be discussed at the borough’s planning committee next Wednesday, contains a total of 1,672 student rooms alongside 68 flats for university ‘key workers’.

The scheme would also contain work space, communal areas for students, children’s soft play space, a cycle surgery, a café and a McDonalds in its ground and podium levels. 

Above the podium, two of the towers are linked by a skybridge which would – according to a consultation document – add a ‘unique architectural quality to the design’ and ‘help better create a campus feel across the two buildings’. The bridge itself would include lounges and cinema rooms for students.

The building would be owned and operated by Urbanest but student rooms would be exclusively offered to students at UCL – which has its School of Management on the 38th floor of One Canada Square at nearby Canary Wharf.

Elsewhere in east London, UCL is also in the process of developing new campus buildings by Stanton Williams and and Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands in Stratford’s Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and a laboratory designed by Penoyre & Prasad in Dagenham. 

Apt will submit a planning application for the student towers later this summer, with construction due to start in 2021 for completion in 2024.

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