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LONDON: The redevelopment of one of London’s most iconic buildings has sparked interest from Gulf buyers, who have purchased properties for millions of dollars in what will soon be one of the world’s commercial, residential and cultural districts the trendiest in the British capital.

Completed in 1935, Battersea Power Station has long held a special place in the British psyche.

It dominated the London skyline and fueled the UK economy for decades. Plumes of smoke from its four iconic chimneys even guided British fighter jets home after bombing raids during WWII.

Now the building, with its coal mining past behind it, is taking on a new role as one of the capital’s hottest commercial developments – and Arab buyers have taken note.

Simon Murphy, CEO of Battersea Power Station Development Co. – which is redeveloping the unused site into luxury living spaces, shops and offices – told Arab News about 20% of the homes in the complex are sold to investors in the Middle East.

“In this context, the majority came from the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. We have recently received over 100 inquiries, mostly from buyers from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates over the past month, ”he said.

“There are a number of reasons the Battersea power station is attracting buyers from the Gulf,” he added, including its lucrative financial opportunities, prime location beside the Thames and abundance of green spaces provided in neighboring Battersea Park.

“Gulf buyers are also drawn to the mix of uses for the project, which includes homes, offices, including Apple’s new UK campus, shops, restaurants, cafes, bars, cinemas, theaters, a hotel, etc. This true mix of uses is something that resonates with buyers in the Middle East, ”he said.

“The unique history and heritage of the power plant building itself, which welcomed its first residents last month, is of course another point of attraction. The opportunity to buy a slice of British history is very appealing.

Grahame Clist, consultant to real estate investment firm Spot Blue, told Arab News that people’s expectation that London’s real estate market is crippled by the coronavirus pandemic has proven to be unfounded.

“If you are looking at medium term properties in London, especially for places like Battersea Power Station, then you have a good investment and something that not only the Saudis but everyone want,” he said. declared.

The pandemic has blocked the real estate market and held back transactions, but when the ability to visit resumed there was a “massive uptake” of people seeking to re-enter the market, he added.

“There has been, to some extent, a shortage of properties that has held back the market,” Clist said. “In the Greater London area, prices have gone up by at least 10 percent over the past six months – and that’s if you can find a property.”

Developments such as the Battersea Power Plant, he said, are among the first to take advantage of this increased demand.

He echoed Murphy’s emphasis on the importance of British history in the popularity of the development.

“It’s an iconic building in London,” Clist said. “It’s almost as if Buckingham Palace is turned into apartments and put on the market – people are rushing to buy them from all over the world.”

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