DESCRIBED as London’s second Chinatown, Colindale’s Oriental City was a mecca for the Chinese community in London before being demolished in 2014 to make way for a new mixed-use development.
Every weekend thousands flocked to the vast food hall on the Edgware Road in north-west London and, perhaps unsurprisingly, community groups fought the redevelopment — claiming that an institution built up by stallholders over many years would be lost.
Now, four years later, the seven-acre site boasts a gleaming new food hall — Bang Bang Oriental — on the site of Oriental City, alongside a Morrisons supermarket. And the residential element is beginning to take shape.
The two-phase project — which is named 399 NW9 after the number of the site on the Edgware Road and its postcode — is in capable hands.
Developer U+I, which acquired the site in 2005, has a track record when it comes to delivering mixed-use developments of this sort.
The firm’s completed projects include Paddington Central — a former railway goods yard transformed into offices, shops, a hotel and apartments — and The Movement in Greenwich, a scheme comprising apartments, student accommodation, a convenience store and business start-up units on what was formerly an industrial estate.
Phase one included the 80,000sq ft Morrisons and 50,000sq ft of retail and restaurant space which, as well as the Bang Bang food hall, includes a separate Chinese restaurant and various food stores.
Building began in 2015 and was completed in 2016, with the Morrisons opening in March of that year and Bang Bang following in July last year.
Phase two will be made up of the 183 homes spread over five apartment blocks and a collection of townhouses, designed by Sheppard Robson architects.
The overall aesthetic at 399 is drawn from the area’s East Asian heritage, evident in the names of the buildings — Eastern Point, Bonsai Point, Oriental Square (the townhouses), Bamboo Apartments, Dove Tree Apartments and Oak Apartments.
There is no affordable element to 399, but there will be space for a primary school as part of the scheme.
Of the 183 homes, 29 are three and four-bedroom townhouses, the rest are one to four-bedroom apartments. Prices start at £350,000 for a one-bedroom flat, £450,000 for two-bedroom apartments, £550,000 for three bedders and four-bedroom duplex flats start at £755,000. The townhouses start at £675,000 and go up to £825,000. All of the townhouses have terraces and all of the apartments have some outside space, whether a terrace or a balcony.
The residential phase will be complete in November this year.
Some 44 of the homes, including one of the townhouses, have already been sold. U+I reports most of the interest coming from local buyers with many also looking to use Help to Buy.
Building work has been going on around the construction of an underground car park, which will provide 183 spaces, one for each home. These will command a one-off fee of £10,000. There will also be 450 bike storage spaces.
There is no gym at 399 but there will be a concierge service, courtyards and a children’s playground. The service charge will work out at about £2.50 per sq ft per year but will depend on which block the home is situated.
Kevin Griffiths, the project manager at 399, says his team are using a modular construction technique for phase two — installing a lightweight steel frame and then adding brick cladding which he says will give the development a ‘solid look’. The frame, he says, will save weight bearing down on the car park below.
‘A framework is useful when there is a lot of repetition in the building work, and this was the case here,’ he says.
The blocks have ‘cassette-style’ timber flooring, which was, again, used to save weight and because it fits with the modular nature of the development.
Esther Galloway, residential portfolio manager at U+I Plc, says, ‘Our vision for 399 has always been to build a thriving neighbourhood with community at its heart.
‘The area has a strong cultural heritage and we wanted to build on that by creating an environment that brings the community together while also providing much-needed homes.
‘The addition of the residential offering completes our transformation of this renowned site, which will see it become one of the most exciting areas to live in London.’
399 NW9: 399 Edgware Road, NW9 5AH
No of properties: 183 homes, from four-bed townhouses to one-bed flats
Prices from: £350,000
Completion date: November