Meriam Lock-Necrews, Head of Residential, Battersea Power Station
London’s District 2020 and the 15 minute neighbourhood – Battersea Power Station

The pandemic and its legacy has transformed our lives with the
distinction between where we live, work, and play becoming increasingly
blurred. As the hybrid work model is gradually accepted across the corporate
world, there is a growing demand from many people to centralise where they work,
socialise and shop to achieve an optimal work life balance.

In response to this new dynamic, investors and property owners in
the UK market continue to focus on prime real estate locations, but with the
added criteria that they must now provide easy access to well-connected
transport networks, comprehensive amenities, proximity to education
institutions and so on.  This investment
strategy is to ensure that their assets will not only appreciate in value, but
will provide attractive rental options over the long term.

This is supported by the latest Knight Frank London Report 2022 and
the concept of the ‘15-minute neighbourhood’ which is gathering pace as part of
a wider rethink of how we build and manage cities in the aftermath of the pandemic.  This concept emphasises, once again, the
importance of building new communities where work, leisure and retail
opportunities are all within a 15-minute walk. 
This type of living addresses changing buyer, tenant and occupier
requirements, which means that the developments benefit from resilience against
economic shockwaves, as well as from social value gains.

These investment themes also resonate in the Middle East, as
revealed in Knight Frank’s latest Wealth Report, which surveyed high net worth
and ultra-high net worth individuals across the region.  It highlighted that these UK centric
investors are also favouring developments with amenities, leisure facilities,
access to green open spaces and convenient public transport links.

Of course, the Middle East pioneered this concept, with the
masterplan of “new Dubai” conceptualised with this forward-thinking
mindset.  A topical example of this is
the planned transition of the EXP0 2020 site into District 2020 over the next
few years, creating a sustainable and human-centric future city which is
modelled around the 15-minute neighbourhood idea.

This shared, future-proofed mentality is why Battersea Power Station
has resonated strongly with Middle Eastern buyers.  The iconic mixed-use Central London
development is now home to over 2000 residents, and offers a vibrant mix of
shops, restaurants and offices, on the bank of the River Thames. This is in
addition to the 19 acres of public space, and the 200-acre Battersea Park
moments away, all serviced by the extension to the London Underground Northern

Five months into 2022, the prime central London real estate market
is seeing surging demand fuelled by the return of international investors and rising
rental values and yields.  This is
further underpinned by land scarcity, a lack of housing supply and rising
development costs.

As travel restrictions rapidly begin to disappear, Middle Eastern
buyers are beginning to return to the UK market to view new build developments,
and those sites which are aligned with the ‘15-minute neighbourhood’ concept
expected to benefit most. Knight Frank’s recent Wealth Report found that the UK
is the most likely location for Middle East HNW & UHNW buyers to search for
a new home to purchase this year.

In many cases, preference will be given to properties that are ready
to move into, particularly given how construction disruptions have affected the

There is no doubt that the 15-minute neighbourhood boosts the local
economy, improves health and wellbeing, and provides the sought-after work/life
balance that is in such high demand post-pandemic. At Battersea Power Station, this
vision for the future has been engrained in our approach ever since we broke
ground nine years ago. We are investing £9bn to create a neighbourhood which
sets a new standard for residential and commercial development, delivering
“best-in-class” homes in a new global destination.



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