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The latest London building to offer a ‘sky garden’ is 20 Fenchurch Street, or more commonly known as the ‘Walkie Talkie’. The sky garden at the top of this skyscraper is due to open by the end of this year, and will provide diners on the 35th storey not only with views of London but pleasant surroundings as well.
The gardens will be serviced by two express lifts, and visitors to the three architect-designed levels will encounter, amongst other attractions, a champagne bar and brasserie. The experience will extend further upwards, to level 36 where guests will find the viewing area, while even more is on offer at level 37: a public terrace (access will be free, as a condition of the planning consents), seafood bar and café.
Guests may have come across the food before – ‘rhubarb’ also runs the food hangouts at the Saatchi Gallery and the Royal Albert Hall, and has collaborated with celebrity and award-winning chef Heston Blumenthal.
The earliest-known roof garden in London is that at Kensington Roof Gardens, a one-acre site at the top of what was department store Derry & Toms and whose gardens have been rented by Richard Branson since 1981, while the building itself was purchased by German investor Conle last year. Over 100 professionals keep the Kensington Roof Gardens in shape and the owners of 20 Fenchurch Street acknowledge that the gardens may be a ‘loss leader’.
London’s roof gardens are not limited to commercial enterprises. Residential owners are also realising the benefit of them where space is tight in the immediate vicinity of a property – as is the case in much of the capital.
In a combination of the commercial high-rise roof garden and the low-rise residential roof garden, the city’s planners are increasingly seeing planning applications for residential tower blocks come with outdoor or garden-style terraces, mid-way and/or atop the building, in the hope that such outdoor access will not only add value to the properties but will ensure they are snapped up more quickly.
This news was brought to you by Morgan Pryce, a specialist tenant acquisition agent with offices in Oxford Circus and the City. Morgan Pryce specialises in search, negotiation and project management and works exclusively for tenants.