New Providence Wharf

Charrington Tower and Ontario Tower behind New Providence Wharf block A-E
Charrington Tower and Ontario Tower behind New Providence Wharf block A-E

NPW development overview


43-storeys
Blackwall

New Providence Wharf is the name given to Ballymore’s expansive riverside complex, located a short distance to the northeast of Canary Wharf.

The development is centred around two towering blocks — 31-storey Ontario Tower and 43-storey Charrington Tower — also featuring a Radisson Blu hotel and office complex.

Built in multiple phases, between 2003 and 2017, the New Providence Wharf is a sprawling luxury flat development with a wealth of amenities and landscaped gardens.

Before completion of Ballymore’s Pan Peninsula apartment complex, Ontario Tower at New Providence Wharf was the tallest residential tower in London’s Docklands.

New Providence Wharf (sometimes referenced as NPW) has survived controversies, alongside cladding issues, but remains a popular residential development scheme.

Here’s a complete overview of the scheme, previous controversies and what it’s like to live there.


New Providence Wharf overview

In numbers

5

Buildings

250,000 m²

Development area

136 m

Tallest building

400

Hotel rooms

0.8 miles

From Canary Wharf

1300

Apartments

Ballymore’s New Providence Wharf masterplan was created by renowned architects Skidmore Owings and Merrill.

The waterside development was completed in multiple phases, with original plans and final completion spanning nearly two decades:

  • The first residents moved in, and affordable homes completed in 2003
  • Canary Wharf’s Radisson Blu Hotel, completed in 2007
  • The tallest centrepiece — Charrington Tower — completed in 2017

Ontario Tower LED lighting

Address: Ontario Tower, 4 Fairmont Avenue, London, E14 9PB

Built: Construction began in 2004 and was completed in 2007

Height: Once the tallest riverside tower in London, Ontario Tower is 105 m tall. Thirty-two floors, plus basement.

Apartments: 256 units.

Ballymore’s original luxury riverside tower, Ontario Tower, completed in 2007. The sleek, glass and aluminium, tower was inspired by industrial chimneys. Allegedly this a nod from architects SOM to the area’s historic industrial past and to the tall chimneys of transatlantic ocean liners, setting sail from London’s docks!

A key feature that sets this tower apart, is the 30-degree sloped circular roof. This is highlighted at night by blue LED lighting around the edge of the elliptical profile. Twinned with the Radisson Blu Canary Wharf, residents of the luxury block can even have room serviced delivered!

Charrington Tower skylounge at New Providence Wharf development
Charrington Tower sky lounge

Address: Charrington Tower, 11 Biscayne Ave, London, E14 9BF

Built: Construction started in 2013, with completion in late 2016.

Height: 44-storeys, 136 m

Apartments: 360 units

The final phase of New Providence Wharfs development, Charrington Tower, was originally referred to as New Providence Wharf Tower.

The centrepiece of the sprawling development, Charrington Tower, stands at 136 meters tall. The height is put to good use, with a resident’s 43rd floor sky lounge providing panoramic views towards the o2 Arena and the Canary Wharf skyline.

Residents began moving in 2016. Charrington Tower is the final New Providence Wharf Tower, and brought with it a replacement fitness centre which all residents have access to. This new luxury fitness and spa centre is known as Charrington Leisure Centre, and opened in 2017.

Block A-E central residents garden
New Providence Wharf’s central garden

Address: New Providence Wharf, 1 Fairmont Ave, Blackwall, London E14 9PB

Built: Construction started in 2001, completion in 2004

Height: 19-storeys, 60 m

Apartments: 559 units

There are a total of 559 apartments spread in horseshoe-shaped New Providence Wharf. Referred to as Block A-E, and part of the original £95 million development plans for NPW, this building occupies a prime position. It is closest to the River Thames, and the river boardwalk path.

The building is heavily landscaped, with a large central garden, terracing and water-features at ground level, alongside multiple roof gardens. Stretching back almost 400 meters, and reaching up to 19-stories, this sprawling part of the development is the largest individual building at New Providence Wharf.

Wooden balconies have been upgraded following a small fire in 2021, and the building is undergoing renovation to replace the exterior cladding.

Benefits of living at NPW

Luxury amenities

Developer Ballymore has sought to position themselves at the premium end of the London apartment market, and New Providence Wharf has a wealth of luxury facilities.

industrial chimney shaped features in rooftop residents gardens
Rooftop hot tubs at New Providence Wharf block A-E building
  • As a large-scale new-build development, architects Skidmore Owings and Merrill had a blank slate to implement significant landscaping and residents facilities.
  • Underneath the complex, the basement level provides secure underground parking, with valet parking and short and long-term storage available. Simply call the concierge and have your car brought when you are ready.
  • All the New Providence Wharf buildings have 24/7 receptions, and access to a spacious fitness and leisure complex including spas, gym and swimming pool — which moved to a new complex known as the Charrington Leisure Centre in 2017.
  • There is also a business centre, with two private meeting rooms available to book at no cost. Residents of Ontario Tower also have access to room service from the adjoining Radisson Blu hotel.

Spacious and residential vibe

Setback from Canary Wharf, 0.8 miles (1.29 km) from the financial centre, the entire New Providence Wharf development spans a massive 250,000 square meters.

This waterside location feels less frantic than the fast-paced centres of South Quay’s high-density construction zone, and the Canary Wharf estate, providing a more homely feel.

cascading roof terrace gardens at new providence wharf
Cascading roof gardens look out towards Canary Wharf

This has been complemented by significant greenery. In 2003, when the original development remained on the drawing board, it was arguably ahead of its time in terms of packing in green space and extensive rooftop planting.

There is a spacious resident’s garden in the centre of the internal oval buildings of Providence Wharf, cascading water features, shrubbery, and ponds. Alongside ground level landscaping, the stepped roof terraces of the curving main building provide extensive rooftop gardens with eco-friendly rooftop rainwater collection.

As a result, the gardens found here are frequently described a big selling point for the property, and an escape from the often built-up surroundings.


Established development

The final completion of the 43-storey centrepiece, Charrington Tower, only occurred in 2017. However, one advantage the New Providence Wharf development has over surrounding areas is its longevity.

With construction happening in phases, some residents have lived at New Providence Wharf for over 15 years — moving in early 2004.

With a constant residential presence across the sprawling site, there are multiple established shops. These span dry-cleaning, dentists, restaurants, cafés, general stores, and more.

Radisson Blu Canary Wharf looking out onto the o2 Arena
Radisson Blu New Providence Wharf looking out over The Thames

With such rapid change, and so many newly completed developments in Canary Wharf, this depth of local amenities is difficult to find in many competing complexes. Unlike New Providence Wharf, newer buildings frequently promise commercial tenants and a thriving community hub, but occasionally the units remain vacant long after the apartments are completed.

The longevity of New Providence Wharf also means that they have an established resident’s association.

There are significant obstacles to setting up an association in a giant complex like this, and a huge number of residents needed to be onboard before residents associations are formalised. As a result, a fully-fledged leaseholder ran association is a rarity. Without one, often residents are at the mercy of whichever building management company the developer has chosen to oversea, with limited recourse for costings and day to day runnings of the estate.

This is the first Ballymore estate, ever, to have a fully recognised Residents Association. While residents don’t have to sign up, having the ability to influence the direction of the estate, and tighter controls over budgets and service charges can be a real selling point.


Cons & previous controversies

New Providence Wharf fire

New Providence Wharf made headlines in 2021 for all the wrong reasons. This Canary Wharf fire initially started due to an electrical issue, and was worsened by a faulty smoke ventilation system, and wooden balconies.

Fortunately, while 40 people were treated for smoke inhalation, nobody lost their lives. This is a testament to the London Fire Brigade, who sent 125 firefighters to the scene.

In the subsequent investigation, the fire commission reported that New Providence Wharf’s high-tech automatic venting system malfunctioned, making the problem worse rather than venting smoke as designed.

Canary Wharf’s Firefighters tackling a blaze at New Providence Wharf
Firefighters tackle the blaze at NPW

Failure of a smoke ventilation system in the 19-storey New Providence Wharf tower block acted “like a broken chimney” which left the only escape route smoke-logged during a blaze last month, a London Fire Brigade (LFB) investigation has found.

Deputy fire commissioner Richard Mills

Part of the original 2003 development. The wooden balconies at NPW were also found to be at fault, helping the fire spread more quickly along the outside of the building. However, these were later replaced with more modern units, at Ballymore’s cost, of approximately £3.1 million.


Combustable cladding

While newer buildings, Ontario Tower and Charrington tower are clad in aluminium, smaller original buildings alongside curving New Providence Wharf, were completed over a decade before the Grenfell fire tragedy. As a result, they are clad in ACM cladding — allowable at the time — and required retrofitting.

Before the works were carried out, there were significant debates between Ballymore and the leaseholders over who would foot the bill. This culminated in a demonstration in Canary Wharf, outside Ballymore’s newest development, Millharbour Village. Joined by council leaders, leaseholders demanded Ballymore pay more than the fraction of the £12 million it was intending to pay.

The result is that works are underway to remove the cladding, scheduled to be completed in mid-2022, with Ballymore and the UK government splitting the cost.

The cladding is being removed by Ballymore, which has pledged that leaseholders won’t have to foot the bill.

Ballymore — 2021

Despite the good end result, in the interim period while flammable cladding remained, residents were paying up to £47,000 per month for a walking fire watch. It is also claimed to have had a significant impact on insurance costs.


Setback location from Canary Wharf

New Providence Wharf’s location provides residents with a peaceful feel, setback from the hustle and bustle of the financial centre.

The immediate surrounding area is slowly regenerating, but some nearby areas remain built-up and light-industrial, rather than suburban.

new providence wharf blackwall tunnel vent
At the rear of the development lies under-developed Blackwall Way, alongside ventilation shafts for the Blackwall Tunnel

While 0.8 miles (1.29 km) from the financial estate doesn’t sound far — it is walkable in around 18 minutes — it’s not a well-landscaped or particularly accessible route.

  • The redevelopment of Wood Wharf, and buildings such as Horizons Tower — both located between the estate and New Providence Wharf — continue to spur regeneration.
  • However, over a decade after construction, residents still require a trip on the DLR (a short distance in Blackwall) to access the transport connections of the new Elizabeth line and Jubilee lines easily.
  • Canary Wharf’s Radisson Blu — located in the centre of New Providence Wharf — provides a shuttle bus service for hotel guests to access the estate rather than advising walking.

NPW’s detached position from the Canary Wharf hub, and the more central Isle of Dogs developments, will, of course, continue to improve with time. Yet, currently, other developments, such as Galliard’s Baltimore Tower, are a similar distance from the financial estate but significantly better connected on foot.


Summary

Now the properties at Charrington Tower are EWS1 certificated, fire systems have been thoroughly analysed and combustible cladding removed, its arguably one of the safest tower blocks in London!

However, the legacy of a fire, negative press from the bitter dispute between residents and Ballymore, alongside the lasting effects on insurance costs and service charges are likely to deter some buyers.

The continued development at this large-scale site means that residents facilities have been replaced and remain up-to-date, despite some apartments dating back to 2003. In addition, the site’s longterm footprint provides established retail offerings alongside leaseholders the security and control of a certified residents’ association.

The slightly removed location provides pros and cons. A lengthened walking time from the facilities and transport links of the Canary Wharf estate is a tradeoff for achieving a peaceful waterside development with a more homely, and residential feel than many.

For those that can overlook the controversies, New Providence Wharf, and it’s two principal skyscrapers — Charrington Tower and Ontario Tower — provide an attractive place to call home.