South Quay Plaza
68-storeys — Isle of Dogs
South Quay Plaza is a exciting large scale development, located just to the south of the Canary Wharf estate. It is being constructed in several phases, with phase one currently finishing construction, and phase two underway.
The developer, Berkeley Homes, hired renowned architect firm Foster and Partners to design both the exterior and interior of the development.
The original plans consisted of two towers — with the principle focus being a dazzling 220m 68-storey residential tower named Valiant Tower. However, in 2018 Berkeley Homes succeeded in gaining planning permission for an additional 190 meter, 56-storey tower — Harcourt Gardens.
The end result turns the South Quay Plaza site into major development area.
The site has a collection of three residential towers: Valiant, Harcourt Gardens and Berwick, set on the 2.6 acre plot. These towers will step back in height, and provide a total of 1338 new flats amongst additional retail units and refurbished offices for the area.
All three towers have been designed around a central theme with a striking glass and steel-edged style.
South Quay Plaza site overview
- Phase one
- Quay Club amenities overlooking South Dock
- Phase two
- Vertical gardens every 19 floors
- Phase three
- Retail and commercial units on ground level
There is a 15-storey office building on the eastern edge of this site, that will be refurbished rather than demolished during the latter construction phases. In total, there are three planned development phases for the South Quay Plaza site.
Construction of South Quay Plaza’s first and tallest tower, Valiant, began in 2016. The tower topped out in 2020, with works ongoing to finish the interior. Residents began moving in at the end of 2020. The estimated final completion window for this first tower is December 2020 to September 2021.
Construction of the second tallest tower on the development — the 56-storey Harcourt Gardens — is also underway. There is an estimated 4 year construction time, with completion currently scheduled for 2024. As of January 2021, this tower has been branded Harcourt Gardens and advanced interest in the development has begun.
Existing site demolision and ground works for the smallest tower, Berwick, are yet to begin as of 2021.
This final phase of the development, and refurbishment of an existing office block on the site are expected to begin from 2023 onwards.
The estimated completion for the entire masterplan is 2025.
Area and transport
South Quay Plaza is located immediately south of the Canary Wharf estate, with the north and north eastern edges of the plot leading to the waterfront of South Dock.
South Quay Plaza, 185 — 189 Marsh Wall, Isle of Dogs, London E14 9SH
Canary Wharf is very accessible on foot, and a short 5 minute walk across South Quay footbridge. This is likely to improve shortly — with the planned development and construction of a new footbridge across South Dock linking South Quay Plaza directly to Canary Wharf. The current timelines for this bridge estimate construction beginning in late 2021, with completion in 2022.
The southern tip of the plot extends until Marsh Wall, the main road running east west across the Peninsula and underground car parking is available to purchase from Berkeley Homes.
Transport links for all of the South Quay Plaza towers via the DLR are excellent:
- The southern side of the plot is directly opposite to South Quay DLR station which provides access to Canary Wharf DLR station in 2 stops (4 minutes)
- From Valiant tower the DLR is approximately 500m or a 3 minute walk, with Berwick and Harcourt Gardens even closer.
- This also means South Quay Plaza is exceptionally well placed for access to the Jubilee line, and around 10-15 minutes walk or 10 minutes via the DLR to the future Elizabeth line at Crossrail Place.
There is a strong shared space theme outside, with 60% of the development area dedicated to shared spaces in the form of plazas, seating areas and gardens.
This theme is continued inside with a very extensive amenities list including:
- 24 hour concierge
- Business lounge
- 20 meter swimming pool and fitness center
- Onsite retail units comprising bars; cafes, shops and restaurants
Thoughtfully designed throughout, the gym and swimming pool are designed on the first and second floors of Valiant tower.
This offers views across South Dock towards the promenade and newly developing Wood Wharf area opposite.
The highlight of the amenities list is the bar and terrace area located on the 56th floor. The interesting design means that Valiant tower almost looks like two towers zippered together, with the 68 storey tower having a facade that steps in on the 56th floor.
Foster and Partners have taken advantage of this outside space and the entire 56th floor has been turned into a bar leading out onto the roof area. This offers an outside glass walled roof terrace, which should offer fantastic panoramic views of Canary Wharf and the surrounding skyline. It is the highest
Berkeley Homes have commissioned Foster and Partners to design the interiors of South Quay Plaza as well as the exterior and landscaping.
By giving the renowned architecture firm such control over the entirety of the development, there’s a real consistent colour and design theme throughout, tying the entire area together.
The poster child of modern large scale developments, Fosters and Partners are a globally renowned practise, with plenty of expertise to fall back on. If the style seems familiar, they designed both the original Jubilee Line station, and were brought back by the Canary Wharf group for the design of the entire Crossrail Station development.
A bonus for both the residents of this development and also the surrounding area, Foster and Partners have also realised the potential role this initial phase of the development will play in transforming the area.
While some of the smaller developments, such as Dollar Bay, provide great homes in glistening new towers in the area, they offer little to regenerate a wider area.
By removing 1980s era office buildings, and opening up the area immediately to the south of the financial center, Foster and Partners aim to speed up regeneration of the surrounding Marsh Wall area, as Canary Wharf itself aims to rebrand itself as an area with a strong residential offering.
The South Quay Plaza development area previously found itself in an uninviting position. Separated from the private Canary Wharf estate by South Dock, it lacked the towering and expensively designed office blocks of the financial center opposite, and it comprised of several uninteresting 1980s era low-rise offices scattered across the site.
The South Quay Plaza site wasn’t far enough into the center of the Isle of Dogs to have a residential feel, or offer any green space, giving it little residential appeal.
Up until recently, serial local area developers Galliard and Ballymore had focused their residential efforts further southwest of this site, with buildings such as Lincoln Plaza and Pan Peninsula clustered around the Harbour Central area.
What this site did have though, is an excellent location and lots of redevelopment potential.
Immediately adjacent to Canary Wharf Financial district, the location is about as close as you can get to the financial center, and will appeal to those working there. Yet the division provided by South Quay dock, and the 45 degree rotation of the building in comparison with the office buildings across the water, offers a degree of separation from the office environments of Canary Wharf.
All the towers on the South Quay Plaza site have great access to South Quay DLR with a crucial difference to nearby upmarket neighbour and Ballymore development, Wardian London. Located slightly further east along the dock to the east, the line doesn’t pass anywhere near as closely to the edge of the main towers here than it does at the Ballymore development. This affords South Quay even quicker access to public transport, but offers less noise to the residents.
Significant construction remains
Like all ambitious projects, construction is being carried out in several stages. Whilst the initial construction of Valiant tower began on schedule in 2018, the 2020 preliminary construction date looks to have slipped already. Current estimates for completion of some of the higher flats are between late 2021 and early 2022.
With above ground construction of the two smaller towers only just beginning and groundwork for the later phase 56-storey Harcourt Gardens at an early stage, development of the South Quay master plan as a whole will take several years.
Care has been taken to develop the immediate area around Valiant tower, and Berkeley Homes will not want the later construction efforts to significantly effect the flagship 68-storey tower. However the trade off for buying early in the main tower means that development works will be ongoing, and visions of beautifully landscaped parks and retail facilities will remain as visions for a long time.
Ambitious price point
Premium developments always come with a significant price tag, and South Quay Plaza is no exception. Yet, here the price is untested even for Canary Wharf and the Isle of Dogs. One bedroom flats are currently on sale for £1m, at £1500 per square foot. Some off plan apartments nearing completion are attracting significant discounts.
Undoubtably you are getting an excellently designed building, by a premium home builder and architect combination, but South Quay Plaza is pitched significantly above market average for the area.
As the architects Fosters and Partners themselves noted, this area needed regeneration to reach its potential.
At the price point it is pitched at, Berkeley Homes real competition is likely to come from across the dock and the Canary Wharf groups own luxury residential developments, such as 10 George Street and One Park Drive, in Wood Wharf.
In contrast to South Quay plaza though, the Wood Wharf development to the north east of the site is located on the private estate itself. Here the Canary Wharf group are justifying their price point as the homes benefit from the wealth of the estates security and investment in services from the group, something that Berkeley Homes can mimic, but can’t really offer here.
South Quay Plaza looks like a fantastic prospect, and Berkeley Homes have chosen very wisely with their choice of architect. Foster and Partners have history in the area, and from the beginning really seem to get the plot and what this area needs to maximise its redevelopment potential.
As with all ambitious projects, there is likely to be a significant construction duration, with all the promised facilities, retail units and landscaping not immediately available.
However, at South Quay Plaza this has been minimised by placing the majority of the residents facilities in the main 68-storey tower, and developing this waterside location first. This ensures even the first residents to move in will have plenty of amenities and a nicely landscaped entrance from the beginning.
It is pitched at a very high price point, but Berkeley Homes will be hoping that the influx of ultra-luxury developments in the surrounding area reinforces their ambitious pricing. Harcourt Gardens also looks like an interesting way of incorporating more green space into the built up area, by using the vertical extent of the building to dedicate 3 entire floors to greenery.
South Quay Plaza could well end up being a significant bonus for the myriad of other developments located in the Isle of Dogs area. By opening up the route into Canary Wharf’s financial center with landscaped access to the waterfront — and the new South Dock bridge — South Quay Plaza looks set to unlock this part of Canary Wharf and enhance its residential offering succeeds.