London's Canary Wharf submits plan for 3,100 homes

LONDON Tue Dec 10, 2013 9:41am GMT

The Canary Wharf financial district is seen in east London February 28, 2013. REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth

The Canary Wharf financial district is seen in east London February 28, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Stefan Wermuth

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LONDON (Reuters) - London's Canary Wharf district has submitted plans to build 3,100 homes alongside the area's shiny skyscrapers, as its owners look to reduce the neighbourhood's reliance on the financial sector.

The plans centre on a 20-acre site called Wood Wharf adjacent to the main estate, which Songbird Estates (SBDE.L) - majority owner of Canary Wharf group - wants to develop into a neighbourhood of homes, offices and shops and make the estate more appealing to a broader spectrum of tenants.

Demand for office space from banks has dried up since the financial crisis and rents are still falling in some buildings in the City where some skyscraper floors are still empty.

Technology and media firms have since taken over as the biggest source of demand for office space, and Canary Wharf hopes its latest plans will target both the firms and their workers.

Canary Wharf has evolved from derelict dockyards over the last 20 years to rival London's City district. Its skyscrapers now house over 100,000 financial sector workers. The estate, made up mainly of offices, first said it was considering building homes in September last year.

The plans, which have been submitted to the local council for approval, provide for 3,100 homes ranging from affordable housing to luxury penthouses, 2.57 million square feet of offices and over 100 shops, as well as a primary school and healthcare facility.

The area will be connected by over three football fields worth of parks, public squares and will be surrounded by a kilometre of walkways on the docks.

Once permission is obtained, construction is expected to start in the first quarter of 2014 on the first phase, which will include 884 apartments across three buildings and two office buildings totalling 216,000 square feet, the company said. The first buildings will be completed in 2017.

(Reporting by Brenda Goh; Editing by Sophie Walker)

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