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Kings Cross - A Holistic Approach To Placemaking

One of London’s most successful regeneration stories, today Kings Cross is an ever-expanding hub of commercial activity and new homes. Yet since the 1970s, the area had been in decline.

Struggling with a lack of investment years of inactivity had resulted in a complex picture of disused buildings, contaminated land and short-term uses.

Whilst delivering High Speed 1 and the associated restoration of St. Pancras Station and St. Pancras Chambers, LCR, acting alongside Exel, appointed Argent as its development partner and worked with them on the creation a new masterplan for the 67-acre site.

Land pooling

LCR’s key challenge was to bring together multiple interested parties under one masterplan.

Without a holistic approach, there was a risk that development would be piecemeal, and would not deliver the necessary wider benefits – such as the open spaces, public art, retail and amenity uses that have come to underpin Kings Cross’ success.

LCR’s unique position on the cusp of the public and private sectors allowed it to develop strong relationships with the local authority and those with other land interests in the site. A complex land pooling exercise and developer selection process culminated in LCR forming the Kings Cross Central Limited Partnership (KCCLP) with Argent, Exel and other investors, to become the single landowner of the site. This enabled an overarching focus on placemaking and estate management to become possible.

New homes and investment

To date, the £3 billion project has delivered 900 new homes – of which 325 are affordable or supported – 20 new restaurants, cafes and bars, a university, two schools, three new public squares, a cinema, a sports centre and six redeveloped parks.

In addition, a construction training facility was created, dedicated to strengthening the local labour market and offering 600 apprenticeships and 450 NVQ L2 skills support programmes to develop and retain talent.

With over 65 per cent of the development now in either the planning or delivery stages, the masterplan has directly supported the creation of 1,300 new jobs through investing £590 million, with a total of 8,500 people now employed across the site.

Alongside the immediate economic and social impacts, £12 million in wellbeing benefits have also been delivered, through volunteering, youth group and exercise programmes, and in creating a new ‘knowledge cluster’ for London.

A long-term view

This holistic approach to regeneration has helped Kings Cross to outperform other inner-London locations in terms of employment, and commercial and residential value.

By de-risking Kings Cross to make it attractive to the market, LCR enabled developers and investors alike to take a long-term view. This resulted in a best practice approach to placemaking, the attraction of commercial tenants and sustainability of buildings.

LCR, after an initial investment of £32 million, formally sold its stake in KCCLP in 2016 for £371 million. But its early involvement and enabling of a single landowner for the site created a crucial platform for one of London’s biggest regeneration projects.

London & Continental Railways Limited, 4th floor, One Kemble Street, London WC2B 4AN  Tel: +44 (0) 20 7391 4300  Fax: +44 (0) 20 7391 4401

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