Technology & Business

Investment opportunity

Head of London Residential Development at one of the capital’s leading estate agencies Savills, Dominic Grace reveals to us why he would happily invest his own money in Embassy Gardens.

Dominic Grace of Savills, London

Dominic Grace, Head of London Residential Development, Savills

Dominic started working for Savills in 1984 as a Central London agent. Two years later, he had been dispatched to the new Docklands office to look after the emerging residential development market. He now heads a team of around 140 people who work in specialist advisory and transactional work.

Since the 1980s, he has kept a close eye on the regeneration of London’s Southbank, especially at Nine Elms. ‘It’s amazing how an area that is so obviously part of Central London was just so abandoned by everyone,’ says Dominic.

‘Now, happily, the whole swathe is being regenerated in a very exciting way. It’s great that Apple are going in to Battersea Power Station. There’s huge excitement about that.’

At the heart of the regeneration is EcoWorld and Ballymore’s joint venture, Embassy Gardens. ‘In ten to twenty years, this is very obviously going to be a 21st-century part of London,’ says Dominic, who sees three main reasons to invest in the development.

The first is convenience. Increasingly, he says, new developments like Embassy Gardens deliver a very convenient lifestyle for people who ‘want it and want it now’. ‘This is a new market,’ he says, ‘a generation who like the idea of an onsite gym, dropping down in the lift to restaurants and bars that are part of their development. It’s a new lifestyle choice.’

Nine Elms proximity to Chelsea & Westminster

Nine Elms proximity to Chelsea & Westminster

Then there’s the development’s location. ‘Nine Elms is particularly extraordinary given its proximity to areas like Chelsea and Belgravia,’ says Dominic. ‘It is also cheek by jowl with the gentrified areas of Battersea and Clapham. It is the missing piece of the jigsaw [of London’s Southbank].’ On top of that, the Northern line extension will connect Nine Elms to some of the most important commercial and cultural areas of the city.

The final opportunity that Dominic sees is investing in a Ballymore development. Having worked with the company for over 20 years – in the Docklands, Westminster and now Nine Elms – he thinks the developer is something special.

‘Who is the best developer in London? Ballymore,’ says Dominic. ‘Here you have a developer that really has a good understanding of the market. They know how to conceive a product, they have good vision, then they get perfect alignment between design and development. It shines through everything they do.’

‘Over decades, Ballymore have consistently delivered well for buyers. These people would have done very well.’

‘International London’ needs Embassy Gardens, thinks Dominic. And now is a good time to ‘cut a great deal’. ‘If you’re a foreign investor, the pound has swung very much in your favour,’ he says. ‘The market in London has proved to be very resilient and moving forward will thrive in whatever shape or form the new world takes.’

Battersea, Nine Elms & the Southbank

Battersea, Nine Elms & the Southbank

As 21st-century developments like Embassy Gardens thrive, Dominic warns that some other more traditional parts of London that used to be considered prime might start to underperform. So if Dominic had a spare million pounds in his back pocket, would he invest in Embassy Gardens?

‘Yes I would. Definitely,’ he says. ‘Well-conceived, well-designed, well-marketed and well-built developments like Embassy Gardens will perform.’

‘Who is the best developer in London? Ballymore. They know how to conceive a product, they have good vision, then they get perfect alignment between design and development. It shines through everything they do.’

Dominic Grace

Head of London Residential Development, Savills

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