The Transformation of Canary Wharf


Nour Louedi, Property Team

The Transformation of Canary Wharf

Many people said it and Boris Johnson’s “City in the East” plan proved it: London is moving east. East London has been more active than ever and the real estate scene has been changing at lightning speed.

Since 2005, when Stratford was selected to host the 2012 Olympics, East London has experienced something of a gold rush.


Photo by DAVID ILIFF. License: CC-BY-SA 3.0

Over the past decade, the area has been completely transformed from an unexciting banking district to a wealthy and vibrant residential and leisure hub. 

1.       Residential construction

Canary Wharf has now grown into Europe’s biggest employer of bankers, reaching more than 112,000 workers. This number is predicted to double within the next 10 years due to the continuous expansion of the area. The notoriety of the business centre augmented the charm of the region and made it attractive to wealthy buyers from areas like Chelsea and Fulham.

Dazzling residential towers began to emerge, including Ballymore’s Pan Peninsula and Chalegrove’s planned 239m residential tower project, City Pride.These prestigious developments raised the industry’s standards, and with the new Crossrail station, the rejuvenation of Canary Wharf is not expected to slow down anytime soon.

Pan Peninsula Night 

Ballymore’s Pan Peninsula

The number of developers investing in the area is snowballing. Galliard continues to develop sold-out projects, such as Baltimore Tower, Baltimore Wharf and Lincoln Plaza.

Other new high-end developments, set to be completed within the next five years, are Berkley’s South Quay Plaza and Ballymore’s Wardian. In total, the new Crossrail station has triggered the construction of 2000 new builds  in the area.


Canary Wharf Crossrail Station

Further, the new Crossrail station has generated a boom in property prices.

Knight Frank recorded a 9.2% increase in Canary Wharf’s house prices from spring 2014 to spring 2015. And JLL predicts of 44% price growth between 2015 and 2020.

These figures are due to the explosive demand in the area caused, not only by its rapid regeneration, but also by its very competitive house prices, averaging at £474,076. This is still lower than London average of £545,709.

2.       Transport links

The regeneration led to enhanced and diversified links that are now transporting over 100,000 commuters daily.

The DLR, London’s most futuristic and only automated line, was specially created to serve the Docklands and connect it to the City in just 11 minutes.


Canary Wharf, DLR 

The Jubilee Line was diverted in 1999 from its original route to link Canary Wharf to Westminster, Green Park, London Bridge and Stratford. The grey Line now connects Canary Wharf to Waterloo and Bond Street in 9 and 15 minutes respectively.

In addition to ground transportation, Canary Wharf has an international airport at its doorsteps. London City Airport travels to 32 international cities. By 2023, the airport’s expansion plan will add new destinations such as Russia and South Africa.

Although transportation has been actively developing over the last decades, the city’s plans for the area are far from complete. The construction of London’s first pedestrian and cyclist’s bridge linking Canary Wharf to Rotherhithe, as well as two low-level bridges connecting the area to both Greenwich and Surrey Quays, are a reminder that there is much more to come for Canary Wharf.

However, Crossrail, newly named the Elizabeth Line, undoubtedly remains the most influential transportation project. In Canary Wharf, the service is estimated to start running in 2018, enabling passengers to reach Heathrow in just 39 minutes.

3.       Commercial areas

Canary Wharf’s retail areas have experienced a rapid growth. In fifteen years, retail space expanded from 54 shops in one shopping mall-Cabot Place, to 300 shops, bars and restaurant spread across five malls.

The latest addition was Crossrail Place that opened in 2015 above the new Crossrail station. The £500 million mall offers an extra 30,480 square metres of retail space, bringing multiple renowned restaurants such as Stick’n’Sushi, Big Easy and unique leisure experiences such as Everyman cinema and Psycle gym.


Canary Wharf Aeolus sculpture

Canary Wharf is also very supportive of art and design - it hosts more than 100 performing arts and events every year and has one of UK’s largest art collections of more than 60 publicly exhibited artworks. The new Culture Line designed for Crossrail stations will add a new permanent public work to the collection. Once criticized for its dull nightlife, the area is now becoming an “East End creative quarter”.

Canary Wharf is becoming one of the city’s In-Vogue quarters. Not only is it in possession of magnificent residential and commercial landmarks, hundreds shops and bars, and striking dockside scenery, but Canary Wharf is also home to the largest Waitrose branch in the country. And if that’s not a reason to visit, I don’t know what is.


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