Greystar looking at possible third tower twins for town centre

Plans for a £500million 69-storey residential tower at One Lansdowne Road have been dumped, as the original landowners have instead sold the site to the American developers behind the world’s tallest prefabs, the black towers near East Croydon Station.

Double trouble: Guildhouse Rosepride’s twin towers at One Lansdowne Road, dubbed by some ‘The Croydon Dildo’ never came close to being built

Guildhouse Rosepride first revealed plans for a 750-foot tall Lansdowne Road skyscraper as long ago as 2011.

The plans then included a 217-bedroom four-star hotel, 397 residential apartments, and all the extra add-ons that will be familiar to those who have heard the hubristic ambitions of property speculators before: a café and a coffee shop, office space, a brasserie and a restaurant, and a gym and a health club.

Some called the taller of the towers “The Croydon Dildo”.

The council’s Tony Newman and Jo Negrini were soon embracing the Dildo, declaring it to be part of a “Growth Zone”, alongside the £1.4billion scheme to redevelop the Whitgift Centre.

All of which would, we were told more than once, generate work, wealth and riches beyond the dreams of avarice, so that architect plans for a glass swimming pool suspended between two skyscrapers hundreds of feet above street level went through the planning committee almost without anyone blinking…

A decade ago, David Hudson, the CEO of Guildhouse Rosepride, was telling anyone gullible enough to listen, “The proposals for One Lansdowne Road will complement the existing regeneration strategy for the Croydon town centre, working with the other schemes that are already underway, to transform the town.”

The high-rise swimming pool idea was quietly dropped sometime later, but Guildhouse Rosepride continued to maintain their option on the Lansdowne Road site. In 2015 they named China Building Technique Group Company as the primary contractor for the scheme, “to provide design and consultancy in engineering and construction for the half a billion pound new development, part of a massive regeneration scheme that aims to upgrade Croydon”.

No longer.

Croydon central: in 2016, the future was bright… developer David Hudson on a panel with Colm Lacey (left) and Jo Negrini from the council

Guildhouse have now sold the plot to American developer Greystar, who specialise in build-to-rent schemes. Ten Degrees, Greystar’s twin towers at 101 George Street, has three-bed apartments for rent at almost £36,000 per year.

Guildhouse last obtained planning permission for the One Lansdowne site in 2017, but that lapsed in 2021 without a spade breaking the soil.

Greystar has appointed HTA Design – the designers architects behind Ten Degrees – to draw up new plans for the site.

As well as being one of Brick by Brick’s favoured architecture firms (which worked out so well… well, it probably saw the architects well-paid), HTA Design also drew up the plans for what they boasted was the world’s tallest modular building (prefab to you or I), and are now working on those towers near-neighbours, at College Road, overshadowing the Fairfield Halls.

Another set of twin towers, the taller one when complete will be almost 500 feet high, 50 feet taller than 101 George Street. It will also be a “co-living” block, a housing concept borrowed from the Far East, a form of high-rise flat share.

Heights of ambition: Greystar already have a pair of twin residential towers at East Croydon

“Through generous, carefully designed communal spaces the building encourages social interaction while making sure that each home is the right size to offer a place of retreat and privacy,” is some of the excruciating architects’ blurb.

With Greystar teaming up with HTA Design again for One Lansdowne, we can probably expect something being proposed for the site very similar to the East Croydon pair of twin towers.

According to Architects’ Journal, a spokesperson for Greystar said they were “in the early stages of reviewing the existing planning consent”.

Greystar said, “A lot has changed over the past five years since the existing application was approved.” The Grenfell Tower disaster, for one. Someone might want to check the number of staircases and fire escapes in Greystar’s newest tower blocks.

They said, “We have begun to identify areas where we feel improvements could be made to ensure that we create something that reflects market demands, is deliverable and meets the needs of the borough.”

Greystar say that they are already undertaking pre-app discussions with the council’s planning department.

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7 Responses to Greystar looking at possible third tower twins for town centre

  1. Jim Bush says:

    More flats? There are already too many flats in Croydon (supply far out-stripping demand). Has anyone estimated exactly WHEN the supply of flats first met demand, and the over-supply of flats started?
    At the time of the Grenfell Tower fire, Fire Brigade ladders only reached up to the 10th floor. Modern blocks of tiny flats with low ceilings might allow the ladders to reach the 12th floor, but any higher than that seems to be a very great risk.

    • Jen says:

      I completely agree, there should be an embargo on these high rise buildings until 90% or more of the newly built flats are occupied or sold

    • Chris Flynn says:

      That they cite “market demands” is interesting. The cynic in me wonders if they stand to gain anything by going through the motions of going forward, but not actually intending to build – anyone know?

  2. Sandra Ash says:

    Totally agree with you Jim Bush. Very good points, well made.

    No regard seems to be paid to the required increase in supply of services such as GPs and hospital beds. Croydon hospital, even before Covid, was frequently overwhelmed by demand. Their A&E wait times were higher than many and the CEO was forced to make a public apology in the local press.

  3. Joan Brashier says:

    We don’t need more flats – Croydon Council needs to sort the Whitgift Centre out – before Croydon becomes a worned out slum town

  4. derekthrower says:

    Greystar seem very ambitious when they haven’t fully let out their first block and their second block’s completion has gradually slowed down to a snail’s pace over the last few months.
    Recently due to rapidly declining sales of new flats this wonderful Government of ours changed guidance and allowed Banks to offer mortgages on such high rise properties due to these blocks being simply left empty. Now the country is deep in the economic doldrums, it seems this state of affairs is simply not going to change in the foreseeable future.
    Strange then that Greystar are putting so many eggs in the basket case that is Croydon.

  5. Isn’t it obvious that Croydon council and GreyStar sniff the lines from the same table.

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