2020 has been a year of many challenges. Yet it is in difficult times that we often see people pull together – ingenuity and resilience at their best. This has been exemplified by the way our team and our community at Ram Quarter, Greenland’s redevelopment of the former Young’s brewery in Wandsworth, have responded to the global pandemic.
Residential sales have remained strong, and buyers continue to be attracted by Ram Quarter’s unique history and architectural excellence – something we celebrated this year with the site’s participation in the Open House London design festival.
Leasing activity has also continued on the excellent trajectory we set in 2019, with retail and leisure space for the first phase of the development now almost 85 per cent let. One deal is still in solicitors’ hands, and there are several more under discussion. Amid a challenging climate for retail and hospitality, Greenland’s focus on independent businesses that can establish a dedicated following has been rewarded – with demand to be part of Ram Quarter’s retail and leisure hub greater than ever.
We’ll be building on this in 2021, not least with the exciting launch of Sambrook’s brewery which is returning commercial brewing to the site. Sambrook’s will take over from our nanobrewery which maintained Ram Quarter’s important brewing legacy during construction. The safeguarding of this unbroken brewing tradition and the creation of a distinctive sense of place connected to Wandsworth’s heritage has been a driving objective of Greenland’s work since we took ownership of the site. That ambition is now becoming reality. The brewery, along with five further occupiers we’re due to welcome in early 2021, will become part of a thriving hub alongside those businesses already established at Ram Quarter.
Community has been a consistent theme of 2020 as people came together over the pandemic, and it is that sense of belonging that really makes a place special – something that has been very much in evidence at Ram Quarter this year. There are now hundreds of residents living on site, from young professionals to families and retired people. It has been fantastic to see Ram Quarter become such a strong neighbourhood and the sense of pride and ownership that people have for it.
Businesses on site quickly and successfully adapted to new circumstances: London Stock launched its delivery service during lockdown; Story Coffee, with its outdoor seating, became a lively hub for socially-distanced catch-ups; and we did our own bit to raise spirits, working with our resident brewer John Hatch to provide free beer each Friday for Ram Quarter residents.
Next year, despite COVID-19 and Brexit, the outlook for the London property market is positive, especially as the arrival of a vaccine gives greater confidence that market stability will return. Annual UK house price growth is at its highest level since 2015, and London will continue to draw people from all over the world attracted by its exciting cultural, lifestyle and employment opportunities.
Ram Quarter and our other UK project Spire London are very much a part of this, and Greenland’s global reputation for excellence sees us well placed to make the most of these opportunities in the coming months and years. We have assembled a strong team in the UK, with longstanding expertise in development here and abroad. This is further supported by our partners across the design, legal and technical sectors.
As 2020 draws to a close, we look forward to better times ahead, and would like to wish all our friends, colleagues and partners a very merry Christmas and a happy, healthy and prosperous new year.
Taotao Song, CEO, Greenland UK