Crossrail, a new railway project for London and the South East, is nearing completion and it’s only a few short months until the grand opening of the central station of the new Elizabeth line. The 118km long railway promises to improve journey times across London, ease congestion, offer better connections and provide more direct travel opportunities across the capital; linking Heathrow with Paddington, the West End, the City and Canary Wharf. Journey times are expected to drastically improve on certain routes. The journey time between Heathrow and Liverpool will be reduced by 20 minutes, whilst the journey from Liverpool St to Canary Wharf will be reduced to just 6 minutes (currently 21). When fully open in 2019 it will add 10% capacity to central London’s rail network, bringing an extra 1.5 million people to within 45 minutes of central London.
As well as the obvious improvements to travel infrastructure in the capital, the project is expected to bring with it a number of other benefits. The Crossrail project is helping to drive regeneration along the length of the route. It has been projected that new line will support the delivery of over 57,000 new houses. Nearly half of planning applications within a kilometre of an Elizabeth line station has cited the new railway as a justification for the development proceeding, equating to around 5.3 million square feet of residential, commercial and retail space. The redevelopment plan will also have a considerable impact on employment figures and is estimated to generate over 180,00 new jobs across the city. The project is also expected to have a significant economic impact; for example it is anticipated that GDP will increase by an additional 42 billion.
In regards to the world of Facilities Management, it is easy to see that this development will bring with it a whole host of opportunities, particularly when we consider the current and potential impact it is having on the commercial property market. This is already apparent as for the first time in a major UK rail project, the stations, surrounding areas, and the over-site developments have been designed at the same time. 12 central locations have had major property developments integrated into their station upgrades, which will total over three million sq ft of high quality office, retail and residential space. This boom in commercial development is set to continue, with a large proportion of development applications within the city citing Crossrail as a key factor in location selection.
At Maxwell Stephens we are extremely excited about the future of the commercial property market in London and we look forward to seeing what opportunities the next stage of the redevelopment will provide to the city.
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