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Property: How Ballymore is continuing to transform Royal Docks and east London

New homes at Riverscape’s The Pearsall building launch as Brian De’ath gives us insight into the firm’s extensive array of future schemes

The Pearsall building at Ballymore’s Riverscape scheme has launched

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Brian De’ath looks at home.

We’re sat in front of the frankly huge, gold-framed plate glass windows in a show apartment in The Pearsall building at Ballymore’s Riverscape scheme.

The effect of this expansive, considered glazing is to portion up the apartment’s views over the Thames of east and south-east London into gilt-edged postcards of a vibrant, ever-changing city and skyline.

It’s a part of the capital Brian’s career in property has deeply intertwined with.

Working for the likes of Berkeley Group, Mount Anvil and Canary Wharf Group, he’s helped countless buyers find new homes here, at developments up and down the river. 

It would be fair to say while those developers have built the structures that have transformed Docklands, his job has been to convince house hunters to live in them, helping to create the emerging communities which have replaced industrial decline. 

He joined Ballymore a little over seven months ago as managing director of sales and marketing and is relishing the opportunity to work on its existing schemes and a rich pipeline. 

Ballymore managing director of sales and marketing, Brian De’ath

“Our industry is very small – people bump into each other all the time – so I got to know my predecessor, Jenny Steen, over the years and I’d always got on tremendously well with her and had great respect for Ballymore as a company,” said Brian.

“For me it was good timing that a position arose at a company I really wanted to work for.

“Looking at what Ballymore has done over the years, I’d been impressed with its level of integrity in terms of acquiring a site and taking the soul of the area into account.

“I think it’s in the company’s DNA to say: ‘We’re going to treat each individual project in its own right and on its own merits’, rather than taking a model and replicating it.

“Instead, the company asks what each development needs and what it can do to enhance the local area.

“I remember being blown away on my first visit to Embassy Gardens in Nine Elms – it was just so good.

“Ballymore was one of the first developers there and for the company to take that leap of faith and imagination was tremendously exciting.”

The Pearsall features large windows with views across the Thames

Simply put, the developer has built a sizeable portion of the east London we see around us today. 

In partnership with EcoWorld it’s delivered Wardian – just over the dock from Canary Wharf on the Isle Of Dogs – and London City Island at Leamouth, which included a new home for the English National Ballet and a vital bridge over the River Lea, linking the area to Canning Town station.

The latter has since been effectively extended as a campus, with Ballymore’s Goodluck Hope project filling a patch of land between the Thames and the smaller river with warehouse-style buildings and townhouses.

Going back a bit further, there’s Providence Tower and New Providence Wharf, Pan Peninsula, Millennium Harbour, Baltimore Wharf, Dundee Wharf and 21 Wapping Lane.

On the Isle Of Dogs, schemes at Cuba Street and Mill Harbour remain in the pipeline.  

While the company’s impact has already been profound on the shape of housing close to Canary Wharf, it’s also been transformational for the regeneration of Royal Docks. 

Working with Oxley, it’s Royal Wharf scheme has seen a town of more than 3,000 homes built beside the water close to the Thames Barrier. 

The Pearsall features open-plan apartments

The partners are currently building Riverscape – a development of more than 750 homes on a strip of land leading up to the river between Royal Wharf and the 100-year-old Lyle Park. 

Just launched at the scheme is The Pearsall building.

Located right on the water, it houses 137 apartments – with one, two and three-beds available – and is due for completion in the summer.

“It’s in a super spot with views across Lyle Park and down the Thames to Canary Wharf,” said Brian.

“You’ve got 100-year-old trees in front of you, with the park celebrating its centenary in 2024 and then there’s the river itself – imagine the sun setting behind the towers on the skyline with the water in front. It’s a great spot and we’re delighted with it.

“Historically if you’d asked me how close I’d want a building to be to the Thames, I’d have always said right next to it.

“But while working for Canary Wharf Group and selling homes at South Bank Place, which has Jubilee Gardens in front of it and then the river beyond, I learnt that having the contrast between the green space and the water can be incredibly special.

Properties feature built-in storage in the main bedrooms

“I get that same feeling at The Pearsall. I think it offers unrivalled value at its price point.

“The quality of the architecture and the interior design has absolutely not been seen in this location before.”

The properties feature open-plan design, big windows, built-in wardrobes, walk-in showers and high quality timber flooring. 

Part of the attraction for buyers will also be the prospect of moving to a neighbourhood that’s well established, albeit one with significant regeneration to come. 

This should mean improved access to nearby Pontoon Dock DLR, a new bridge across Royal Victoria Dock for better access to the Elizabeth Line and an expansive swathe of development by Lendlease as its transforms the land around Millennium Mills. 

But right now residents who move into Riverscape will benefit from Royal Wharf’s extensive offering.

That includes a 25m swimming pool, hydrotherapy pool, sauna, jacuzzi and a gym in its Clubhouse, on-site security and a wealth of established businesses including a nursery, cafes, restaurants, a GP, a dentist and The Windjammer pub.

Residents can enjoy views over Lyle Park to Canary Wharf

There are also regular farmers’ markets and community events to look forward to.

However, to consider The Pearsall even at this level of isolation would be to do a disservice to the area and its future.

One of the key things buyers must consider when making a purchase is how likely an area is to be attractive in the coming decades. 

The Pearsall sits at the apex of a scheme that slots neatly into a vibrant community.

This is located in Royal Docks, London’s only enterprise zone, which is currently enjoying billions of pounds of inward investment as public bodies and private companies work to regenerate land abandoned by industry. 

So those making a purchase now are likely to benefit further from such mammoth milestones as the opening of the nearby Silvertown Tunnel, the expansion of Excel and a wealth of future development.

Ballymore itself has two more substantial schemes in the pipeline – one on the other side of Lyle Park at Knights Road and another further east at UNEX-Thames Road, on the other side of Thames Barrier Park.

“To buyers now, we’re not saying you have to be pioneers at all, but part of the attraction of buying here is to be part of the journey that’s coming,” said Brian.

Glazing at The Pearsall portions up the London skyline into gilt-edged postcards

“Ballymore has the fourth largest pipeline of any developer in London and that’s incredible for a privately managed business.

“Knights Road will have around 1,250 homes, although the numbers may change as it goes through the planning process. 

“It’s got a lovely scale to it and, for me, it feels like placing the next piece in a jigsaw puzzle. 

“The east of Lyle Park will be fully developed and accessible to residents and the new scheme will join on to that – ultimately the whole area will be read as one. 

“When you walk around Mayfair or Belgravia, nobody thinks about which buildings were created as part of which schemes – people experience them as single places and that will happen here too.

“We’re also very lucky to have the UNEX site, which will be about 1,400 homes with some very interesting designs coming, including some for light industrial use.

That means an opportunity for great architecture and businesses – a small brewery, perhaps – mixing in with the apartments. 

“We’ll be creating large parks as part of these schemes too and opening up the river.

“We want to work with local stakeholders to do this because we see the value in it for residents and visitors.

“When you look at Ballymore’s investment, there’s no-one doing more in this part of London – it’s something we take incredibly seriously.”

Homes at Ballymore’s Goodluck Hope scheme at Leamouth are still available

ALSO AVAILABLE – Goodluck Hope

Ballymore is currently marketing properties at its Goodluck Hope development, a little further west along the Thames

“This has been a tremendously successful development by Ballymore,” said Brian.

“The scheme includes a wonderful mix of architecture with a mixture of townhouses, towers, low-rise buildings and a refurbished dry dock.

“There’s a grocery open there now and a bakery and cafe as well as all the amenities as London City Island. We currently have about 100 homes left at Goodluck Hope.”

A show home interior at Goodluck Hope

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key details

Apartments at The Pearsall start at £435,000 for a one-bedroom property. Completion is expected this summer.

Homes are also on sale at Ballymore’s Goodluck Hope scheme in Leamouth. Prices start at £425,000 for a studio. 

Find our more about Ballymore here

Read more: How YY London is office space fit for 2024 in Canary Wharf

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- Jon Massey is co-founder and editorial director of Wharf Life and writes about a wide range of subjects in Canary Wharf, Docklands and east London - contact via jon.massey@wharf-life.com
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