Rare £200m mixed use scheme gets green light in City of London

Urbanest has secured planning permission for a rare major mixed-used development in the heart of the City, creating 643 new student homes alongside offices and innovation space for King’s College London (KCL) in a scheme with an estimated GDV in excess of £200m.

A new exhibition space, offering public access to a preserved section of London’s original Roman wall, has also been created in partnership with the Museum of London, alongside 75,000 sq ft of commercial offices and 10,000 sq ft of incubator space for start-ups.The Vine Street scheme in EC3 will become Urbanest’s seventh in central London, designed in collaboration with the university’ s London Entrepreneurship Institute. The university will use it to nurture new businesses, while the commercial office space alongside it has been designed to cater for SMEs.Members of the City of London planning committee commended scheme’s “progressiveness”, noting it was “the best option for the site”. They also welcomed the inclusion of incubator space, adding that “it is an incredibly important use-class that the City needs to offer.” Urbanest, in partnership with the Museum of London, is curating a display centred around the Roman wall that includes artefacts found during the excavation process, making them freely available to the public for the first time.

Built in the late second century, the Roman wall preserved as part of Vine Street development was one of the biggest construction projects in Roman Britain, with around 45,000 tonnes of rag-stone from Kent being brought into the City via barge.Mark Morgan, chief executive officer at Urbanest, said:  “Vine Street supports our strategy of delivering high quality student housing at a range of price points across prominent locations in central London and the blend of innovation space, supporting start-ups, will create an exciting culture of collaboration.“The development is in the centre of the former Londinium, an important and historic part of the capital’s heritage. The public exhibition space we are creating in partnership with the Museum of London, will ensure that everyone can enjoy the Roman Wall, and be a part of the community we hope to foster alongside our university partners at KCL, for years to come.”Urbanest currently houses 2,520 students across five sites, with operational buildings in King’s Cross, Tower Bridge, Hoxton as well St. Pancras and Westminster Bridge.