Artist's impression of a balcony with a view of St Paul's Cathedral across the River Thames (Picture: JTRE)
SINGAPORE (EDGEPROP) - Triptych Bankside, a mixed-use development with 169 luxury apartments in central London, was showcased in Singapore in June. Located at Bankside in South Bank, the GBP400 million ($669 million) scheme is the maiden London development by Slovak developer J&T Real Estate (JTRE).
“People are starting to realise what a wonderful location it is,” says Nigel Fleming, JTRE London sales & marketing director. “You have amazing vistas over green space behind the Tate and a vista of St Paul’s Cathedral across the water.”
The City of London is within walking distance of Triptych Bankside via the nearby Millennium Bridge. Landmarks such as Tate Modern, Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, the Borough Market and London Bridge are within walking distance too. Train stations within a six- to eight-minute walk include Blackfriars, Southwark and London Bridge.
Triptych Bankside has three towers of which two are residential towers with 169 apartments and a low-rise commercial tower (Picture: JTRE)
The development has two residential towers of 14 and 18 storeys, and a low-rise commercial tower of 85,000 sq ft space. There will be about 2,000 sq ft of public space in front of the commercial block. All three towers have a copper and glass façade of undulating waves designed by British architectural firm Squire and Partners, which makes Triptych Bankside the latest landmark in South Bank, SE1. The project is scheduled for completion in 1Q2023.
While the upper floors of the commercial tower at Triptych Bankside are Grade-A office space, the ground floor will be a mix of F&B, retail and entertainment. Three floors of the office space have already been leased, with negotiations underway for several more. JTRE London will be taking up half a floor of office space in the new commercial tower too.
Over 34% of apartments sold
On the ground floor of the commercial tower, one of the new tenants will be a café operated by 92 Degrees — Coffee Shops & Roastery. “Most of their outlets are in the northwest, in Manchester and Leeds; and this is going to be their first site in London,” says Fleming. “The whole concept is around sustainably sourced coffee and also locally sourced produce.”
Fleming: The trend of people looking for larger apartments, especially in central London is driven by the hybrid work culture. People are not just looking at living space; they now have to work from home (Photo: Samuel Isaac Chua/EdgeProp Singapore)
Another new tenant on the ground floor is The Font, which is a bouldering, climbing and fitness concept with a gym. It also has a social aspect, with F&B. The Font will be occupying 7,000 sq ft of space.
As construction of Triptych Bankside is well underway, JTRE has built three show apartments on site. The show apartments are designed by award-winning interior design firm Cocovara, which is also the interior designer for the development’s apartments, reception area, cinema and private lounges. “This [the show apartments] was a real game-changer for us,” says Fleming. “Since they were built, sales have really started to take off.”
To date, 58 units (over 34%) of the 169 luxury apartments at the 999-year leasehold Triptych Bankside have been sold, including the two penthouses in the development, which fetched close to GBP20 million collectively. At GBP3,500 psf, the penthouses have set a new record for the area. One of the penthouses went to a domestic buyer, while the other buyer was from overseas.
Designed by British architectural firm Squire and Partners, Triptych Bankside’s façade of features undulating waves of copper and glass (Picture: JTRE)
“To sell both penthouses off-plan, and so early on, is very unusual,” comments Fleming, who was Knight Frank partner for new homes prior to joining JTRE London last October.
Apart from the two penthouses which are four-bedroom apartments, Triptych Bankside has eight studios, 56 one-bedroom units, 58 two-bedders and 45 three-bedders across both apartment towers, the east tower and west tower. “We’ve got a good mix of apartments,” says Fleming.
To date, only the west tower has been launched, and all the one-bedroom apartments have been taken up. Even the studios in the tower are almost fully sold, with only one available from $790,000. The typical units sold to date have averaged close to GBP2,000 psf.
One of the three show apartments designed by Cocovara Interiors, which is also the interior designer for the apartments, reception area, cinema and private lounges (Photo: JTRE)
Asking prices for the remaining units now range from GBP2,000 to GBP3,000 psf. JTRE intends to launch the 14-storey east tower, the smaller of the two towers, by the end of this year, with a new release of one-bedroom apartments.
The units at Triptych Bankside are generally 10% to 15% larger than the average market size, according to Fleming. For instance, the two-bedroom units are over 1,000 sq ft, while the typical two-bedder in London is about 800 sq ft, he says. The apartments at Triptych Bankside come with generous private terraces or balconies, which is an important feature, he adds.
“It is no longer just yield-driven, but lifestyle-driven,” observes Fleming. “The trend of people looking for larger apartments, especially in central London, is driven by the hybrid work culture. People are not just looking at living space; they now have to work from home.”
Another of the three show apartments designed by Cocovara. All the apartments come with private terraces or balcony (Photo: JTRE)
Even the profile of Asian buyers at Triptych Bankside is different, notes Jacqueline Wong, executive director, residential services, at Savills Singapore, the appointed marketing agency for the project. “It is not your typical investor but owner-
occupier,” she says. “Many of them are planning to fly up to London to view the actual site and show units before making a decision. Most are looking at purchasing for their own use, or for their children who may be studying or working there.”
There are 56 parking spaces within Triptych Bankside, catering for residents of the larger apartments. “Parking space is sought-after in this area,” says Fleming.
Open kitchen (Photo: JTRE)
Strong rental growth
According to Savills Research in a report on Bankside in Spring 2022, rents in prime central London increased by 6.0% over 2021 — the fastest rate of growth in 10 years. There has also been a change in the type of property that is in demand, notes Savills, with greater growth now being seen for properties with a balcony rather than a large garden — “essentially reversing the trend we saw throughout the pandemic where there was a preference for houses over flats”.
Wong anticipates strong rental potential at Bankside too, given the proximity to prominent colleges and universities. Bankside is “an educational hub”, she notes, with top universities such as London School of Economics, King’s College London and University of the Arts located within a two-mile (3.2-km) range.
According to Savills Research, properties within SE1 postcode that are situated to the north and closer to the riverbank can command premiums of about 50%. Savills’ forecast is that prime central London house prices will increase by 23.9% by 2026.
Close-up of kitchen fittings (Photo: JTRE)
When it comes to new builds in the SE1 neighbourhood, Savills Research finds that about 66% of the buyers in SE1 are from China or Asia Pacific, with UK buyers making up the second biggest group of buyers at 23%. When it comes to reasons for purchasing a home, 46% are buying as a second home, 18% are buying as their primary residence, while 36% are buying for investment.
Sniffing out new sites
Indeed, JTRE is still actively looking to purchase more sites in London, with a focus on Zone 1, says Fleming. A real estate developer for the past 25 years, JTRE’s flagship developments in Slovakia’s capital Bratislava include its first skyscraper Eurovea Tower; the Zuckermandel project located at the foot of the Bratislava Castle in the city centre; and River Park, a mixed-use development along the Danube River.
While the majority of the developments by JTRE are in Bratislava in Slovakia, its footprint extends across Europe and even to Asia. Through its various entities, it has commercial developments in Spain, mixed-use developments in Germany, as well as development sites in Thailand and Vietnam. “It has a diverse portfolio,” says Fleming.
Bathrooms feature high-end fittings (Photo: JTRE)
And with JTRE London set up in 2019, it looks like London is where it’s going to focus on in the coming years. Negotiations are underway with owners of some key prime central London sites. “Ultimately, the market will dictate what we purchase,” says Fleming.
For international buyers, London remains “competitive” on the global stage, says Savills Research. This is even after taking into consideration transaction costs including stamp duty and land tax, and a holding period of five years, according to the report. “The total transactional costs in London remain less expensive than Hong Kong, New York and Singapore, even with the 2% overseas buyer surcharge,” the report adds. “With global wealth expected to increase by 39% over the next five years, this suggests there is a steady stream of demand for luxury London property.”