Australian property developer Thirdi Group has signed up for the challenges of an office-to-residential conversion, acquiring a commercial tower on London’s River Thames for luxury apartments.
The 4375sq m Westminster Tower office building would turn into a residential tower comprising 28 apartments with three whole-floor penthouses and 25 two and three bedroom offerings.
An end value is estimated to be $200 million for the “ultra-exclusive” residences.
Ron Dadd, one of the co-founders at Thirdi, said that for office-to-residential conversions, the most important thing was the structure of the building to determine whether it was suitable for residential living.
“The challenge is that you don’t always know the full extent of the structure you’re working with until you start stripping it back, unlike a new build you also need to look at compliance retrospectively and ensure you bring it up to the current code and standards,” he said.
Dadd said requirements of planning for residential schemes must be met to ensure the build standards.
“Our facade and windows will be changed at The Doulton, however every location will be different,” he said.
Once a Royal Doulton ceramics factory, Westminster Tower at the junction of Albert Embankment and Lambeth Bridge on the River Thames would be named The Doulton in honour of the 1980s site.
Thirdi’s co-founder, Luke Berry, said 16 of the 28 residences would have carparks.
“This is a high ratio given many of the newly consented buildings in Central London have no parking,” Berry said.
“To draw people back into the office you need to have a compelling and profound offering, B and C grade office assets are no longer fit for purpose and commercial use so they are being left behind.
“The Doulton will offer some of London’s most enviable views that will never be built out or repeated, combined with exquisite interiors designed and implemented by Banda.”
Thirdi handed the reins over to Ant Yapi—a European construction company—to handle the build and Banda to handle the interior and architectural designs.
The apartment block would include 308sq m of office space, a private gym, yoga and pilates studio, and an infrared sauna.
“We also plan to provide a concierge day car service—the transport infrastructure and access to amenities in London is excellent so the parking element wasn’t a high demand for this project,” Berry said.
On the ground floor, they will delve into the ‘workspitality’ scene by adding a lounge area, a meeting room, work space, a concierge desk and communal terrace.
Thirdi was co-founded by Luke Berry, Robert Huxley and Ron Dadd in Australian and has expanded overseas, opening an office at Vauxhall, London.
Ramping up their portfolio in the UK, Thirdi have their eyes on other locations to acquire in London following their debut project in Battersea at 58-70 York Road and Graphite Square—a mixed-use commercial and residential development under construction.
Thirdi are keen to “invest in and around London in residential, commercial, senior living and assisted living projects”, according to a media statement.
Head of architecture at Banda Richard Eden said the joint partnership with Thirdi would take luxury from the Australian residential market and push it into London projects.