Wapping Project

An interesting article in Property Week out today. I reproduce the sections below that may be of interest to the local community. I guess we will have to wait to see whether we get a restaurant/cookery school or a hotel.

“The reason the Wapping Project is not in great condition is because it looks like it’s always empty. What you need to do with a building like that is to bring the whole building back to life. To my mind, that needs to be a cottage industry building. 

“It will be a farmers’ market-cum-restaurant-cum-cookery school,” he says. “Or, the other alternative is that it would be a boutique hotel.”

Ultimately, he wants to turn the project into something that makes full use of the space without alienating the local community. 

“[Local people] were worried about it [the Wapping Project] going to a developer,” Capstick-Dale explains. “But then they found out that it was the person who did Metropolitan Wharf and that helped us, because in effect I think maybe 30% of my portfolio is listed buildings and I never sell anything.[…] 

[H]e had barely looked around before he bought it, he found parts of the Wapping Project that had been closed up for 20 years, such as two tanks which used to house the plant for a hydraulic power station, complete with columns. 

“If you had a hotel, that’s your basement already built,” Capstick-Dale enthuses.“Because of some of the publicity, we’ve been approached by two different hotel groups who both want it, and we’ve also been approached by a restaurateur. But there’s no point in going out there. What I need to do is establish what I want to do with the site and once I’ve done that I need to find someone quietly — and the two of us will work together to build the scheme.“You could have something like Soho House East End down here. I don’t think we could do a membership place, but there is space for something like that.” 

The property’s three-storey windows would lend themselves to spectacular rooms, he says, and there would be space for around 25 hotel rooms. 

“Getting the whole idea together will take the first four to six months of this year, with plans going in around August,” he says. “Then it would maybe be another five or six months while they get the decision, so we’ll probably have planning for a scheme in February or March next year, then building will take a year to 18 months. So it’s 2016 really.” 

He is not bothered about the length of time it will take — the process of the project is obviously where his enthusiasm lies, and he wants to retain the building rather than planning to flip it and make a quick profit.[…]Capstick-Dale has the luxury of being able to buy things that excite him — he explains how he bought the Wapping Project in four days because he was worried it would be sold “to a Pizza Express for a drive-through, or something”.

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