Welcome to the Global City
Greenwich has been overcome by the Canary Wharf high rise influence. The O2 once stood in dreadful isolation, surrounded by water on three sides and the once-highly industrialised wasteland which had become a vast car park and a series of ballast quays, all ready and waiting for the concrete jungle now advancing at an alarming rate.
The first phase of three blocks were soon occupied by the Ravensbourne College of Art, London Transport and another mecca for self-starts and the like. A windy concourse in front of the O2 has been softened by two pavilions and an adjoining parklet. The principle developers are now Knight Dragon who have oriental paymasters and – boy oh boy! – have they launched into a massive development on either side of the Peninsula. A visit to their new showroom in the new pavilion adjacent to North Greenwich Station will tell you all you need to know. Grab a coffee there and oversee the interesting maze-like park forming alongside.
Meanwhile, the high rise Peninsula Tower will dominate Blackwall Point, and the adjacent mega hotel, set in three tower blocks together with conference banqueting facilities as big as the renowned West End venues, will generate a boost to the neighbouring O2’s appeal. One stop by Jubilee Line to the business hub just across the river as well as the mini city being built at City Island at Leamouth. Close by at East India Dock, Telehouse – the UK’s largest computer junction – is being doubled up in size. WOW – a new 11-storey building is planned.
The proposed new Silvertown Road Tunnel is certainly needed to cream off the Blackwall Tunnel congestion. Also, I fear for the oversubscribed roads serving the Peninsula – well, all we need is an IKEA replacing the Super-Sainsbury’s which opened up not so long ago. Furniture vans will abound, serving the proposed 12.678 new residences on the Peninsula alone. Have our planners gone mad? I await the arrival of the Chinese owners of Convoys Wharf who intend to build a similar residential sector. Let’s hope they will build another Star Ferry Hong Kong-type super ferry to relieve the rush hour pressure on the DLR and Jubilee lines – let’s see how Crossrail will help Woolwich where the ferries are dying fast!
The new owners of Canary Wharf are the Qatari Investment Trust with Brookfield, a Canadian firm paid £2.6 billion for Songbird, who are the majority owner.