48-Storeys — Isle of Dogs
Overview of the development
Pan Peninsula was arguably the first “Ultra Luxury” development in Canary Wharf. It is an oriental style 762 apartment development, compromising of 2 towers linked by a central podium.
It was one of the first developments of the Millharbour area, as part of a longer term development plan by Ballymore, and is therefore also known as 1 Millharbour.
The tallest of the two towers, the west tower stands at 48 storeys with a waterfront bar and restaurant at the bottom, and a panoramic residents cocktail bar at the summit. The shorter east tower stands at 40 storeys, with small commercial units and a residents business lounge on the first floor.
The building topped out in 2007, with completion and residents moving in during 2009. Additionally the 45th floor of the west tower was redeveloped during 2019.
These new apartments were branded the “ClubFortyFive – Penthouse collection”. This provided an additional 4 one-bedroom penthouse apartments, and 2 two-bedroom penthouse apartments.
Landscaping work to provide an additional small woodland area in front of the building completed during 2020.
The Pan Peninsula development is located right next to the waters edge at the north west corner of Millwall inner dock. It is well placed centrally in the Isle of Dogs, and being one of the first major luxury developments in the area, sparked regeneration around it.
About as close as you can get to South Quay DLR station, Pan Peninsula is accessible in less than two minutes. For journeys on the Jubilee line, its a short 5-8 minute walk north over South Quay footbridge to access Canary Wharf tube station.
For journeys by car, it is situated by Marsh Wall, the main road running east west across the peninsula. The entrance is on a one-way system, so you cannot turn directly into Millharbour Road. For access you need to drive past Pan Peninsula, turning in through Lighterman’s road, passing Maine Tower and the new Harbour Central development, before following the one way system around.
Pan Peninsula is about as close to living in a hotel as you can get! The amenities list is jaw-dropping with one of the largest staffing teams in any of the Canary Wharf developments. Residents can even order room service from the restaurant, currently known as Capeesh, on the first floor.
“Fitness centre” is an overused catch-all phrase in many new developments. It seems to span from a single small room with a couple of treadmills, to well equipped gyms worth of being called leisure centres, and everything in between. However it is most certainly not the case at Pan Peninsula.
This development has one of the largest leisure complex’s of any local development, spanning over 1800 square meters in the podium that links the two buildings. The equipment is frequently updated, and there is also a full 25m pool and spa. Personal training and fitness classes are available, alongside an open air terrace for yoga.
While the gem in the crown of the amenities is certainly the leisure centre, there are also a range of additional facilities. A 48th floor cocktail bar tops of the west tower providing 360 views across Canary Wharf.
There is also valet parking: with drivers parking your cars via the twin car lifts to the underground car parking space, a residents cinema, and a spacious business suite.
Luxury standard throughout
With many nice developments in Canary Wharf describing themselves as luxury, it is difficult to stand out. Ballymore recruited architects Skimore, Owings and Merrill to set a “new standard” for ultra luxury, and it is obvious that the building has been completed without any expense spared.
Asides from the premier architects, Ballymore actually utilised the services of Canary Wharf Contractors, the private estates in-house development section, for project management and construction fit.
There are leather lined walls, cascading interior water features, and even televisions in the lifts. Marble is used liberally throughout all of the entrance areas and apartment bathrooms, and the fixtures and fittings are of a noticeably higher standard than even many of the newer developments.
Unique apartment layouts
Lots of new developments have identical straight towers, with hundreds of near identical apartments and one or maybe two floors with larger penthouse and sub penthouses.
The Landmark development is a similar east and west tower set up and completed construction on the peninsula at a similar time to Pan Peninsula. At the Landmark the the developers opted to blend the residential towers into office landscape rather than stand out.
There is nothing wrong with this, but once you have visited one apartment of each size, you really have seen everything the building has to offer.
Whilst Pan Peninsula is largely compromised of studio flats; and 1 and 2 bedroom apartments, owing to the intricate design of the building, they can vary in size and shape significantly. Additionally several bespoke properties were specified both during the initial construction, and in the decade since the development has opened.
This means there are 3 and even palatial 4 bedroom apartments, some spanning entire floors and more. Some smaller two bedroom apartments are split level, proving dramatic duplex’s with vaulted ceilings, and several have large terrace areas as the buildings step inwards on the higher floors providing lots of roof space.
Key coded entry, concierges and CCTV have almost become a standard for most new developments in the area. Yet at Pan Peninsula, marketing itself as the first ultra luxury development in Canary Wharf, they wanted to put a real emphasis on security and privacy.
As a result this development has multiple concierge staff, but also a 24/7 centralised security monitoring system, and seperate security services in main lobby alongside the concierge staff. Coupled with valet parking, and car lifts rather than the often installed ramps or gated carparks, it adds to a feeling of a very secure and safe apartment complex.
Is it fair to see the exterior is beginning to look a bit dated? While the opulence inside is undoubted, I don’t think the outside of Pan Peninsula is standing up particularly well to the test of time.
A little over a decade on the concrete looks more shabby chic than glistening oriental opulence, and the pan asian styling, whilst inoffensive, is not really dating as well as some of the simpler glass heavy newer developments in the area.
Fast forward ten years and developers Ballymore have moved away from the concrete heavy design of Pan Peninsula. The Wardian, their newest development on the Isle of Dogs, features a striking but much simpler glass and dark cladding design layout, which may stand the test of time better.
Jaw-dropping service charges
With regards to service charges and amenities offered, I wrote about not getting too much bang for your buck at Dollar Bay here. You certainly can not fault the amenities on offer at Pan Peninsula, however this does come at a quite staggering cost, to the tune of over £9.40 per square foot for most of the development.
In the Club 45 collection, marketed during 2019, the service charges for some of the flats with more interesting configurations approached what can only be new records for Canary wharf.
When worked out on a price per square foot basis, the most expensive seen was £11.24 per square foot for one of the one bedroom flats.
Smaller new-build developments in Knightsbridge are about £10-£15 per square footThe Resident
As you can see, this is beginning to become on par with the most expensive apartments in Knightsbridge. Whilst not providing quite the same size of expansive leisure facilities, these zone 1 boutique developments are often equipped with ultra luxurious spas, state of the art gyms and personalised concierge services from world leading hotel brands.
In contrast, even newer ultra luxury developments from the Canary Wharf group, such as One Park Drive, remain well below the price per square foot charges of Pan Peninsula.
Close to transport links is a bonus, but the DLR line virtually snakes through Pan Peninsula.
Whilst this is unlikely to be a problem throughout winter months when the windows are closed, or for the very highest apartments, for some of the lower apartments and especially north facing, the balconies are very noisy.
Pan Peninsula set a new standard for ultra luxury developments in Canary wharf when it opened in 2009. The facilities are still largely unmatched, and the extra security will no doubt always offer an appeal.
Equally there are plenty of unique apartments dotted, throughout the two towers in this landmark address, that are a welcome relief from the monotony of some of the less thoughtful newer developments.
There will always be a steady supply of people that prefer the ultra-convenience and additional security offered here. However a decade on, a slightly dated exterior and combination of sky high service charges removes a little of the shine.