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Paddington Merchants Square Proposed

The Grand Union Building in Paddington, one of the buildings that started the recent trend for going tall in London, has been dropped thanks to the developer Chelsfield selling the site to the Paddington Development Corporation Limited that is half owned by busy Aussie developer Multiplex. Looking at what is approved for the site the PDCL have decided not to proceed with the scheme in its current form.

The Richard Rogers designed tower was to have been a largely office development of 132 metres tall featuring the classic Rogers' style of diagonal cross bracing and external service shafts with a mere 200 or so apartments.

As a victim of circumstance the tower was approved shortly after September the 11th and with the bottom having fallen out of the office market there were no takers for the space in the tower and despite the success of the rest of the development in providing office accommodation Chelsfield were reluctant to take the risk of a speculative build.

The development also takes in land that was due to be part of the terry Farrell penned Paddington Health Campus, an NHS public finance initiative that has become so bogged down in costs, bad contracting and redesigns that it is impossible for it to go-ahead due to the increasing cost of the land during this time that has reached whopping half a billion pounds.

The site has now been re-branded Merchant Square, a suitably aspirational name for the ambitious developers who hope to create a quarter that will rival the Broadgate Centre in the City of London and cost 700 million to build that has been masterplanned by the Kalyvides Partnership.

Unlike the previous incarnation it will contain a much larger residential aspect of 559 new homes of which 30% will be affordable, shops plus almost 100,000 square metres of new office space and hundreds of underground parking spaces.

The centrepiece is Building A, an entirely 43 floor residential tall building of roughly the same height as the Grand Union Building hosting 223 apartments, has worked on by Chicago based architects Perkins & Will. The tower includes continuous glass faces running up part of the south side of the tower with balconies on either side, the larger one rises above the roof level to form a glass blade.

Building B is a couple of interlinked office blocks similar in massing to Plantation Place hosting 25,000 square metres of space that also designed by Perkins & Will. It will form the bulk of the development at a squat 14 floors.

Standing opposite will be Building C, it's a mid-rise block that will have 20,000 square meters of office space. Both of these buildings will also contain retail outlets on the lower floors creating a new shopping precinct.

Building D and F are both residential buildings designed by the Kalyvides Partnership, and U.K based Mossessian & Partners, with 140 and 196 residential units respectively and more ground floor retail plus three levels basement parking.

The last of the six buildings is Building E, the main office tower. It has 32,000 square metres of floor space and has also planned by Mossessian & Partners but this time in conjunction with Perkins & Will.

Unlike the last plans for Paddington Basin this time the developer is not only serious but already has a scheduled start date for the project of sometime in 2007 should approval be granted by Westminster Council.

With the ever growing demand in London for new housing, not to mention the bullish attitudes of developers to large residential projects and in particular ever taller towers these are likely to get off the ground sooner than later, even if the PDCL waits some time for the office space to be taken and buildings one piece at a time.

Article Related buildings:

Merchant Square Building A

Merchant Square Building A
Merchant Square Building B

Merchant Square Building B
Merchant Square Building C

Merchant Square Building C
Merchant Square London
Merchant Square London