Forty years after its turbines stopped, Battersea Power Station has been reborn as an A-list address #englishheadline
There is a huge gold reception desk, shimmering chandeliers dangle from the ceiling and chic exposed-brick walls are everywhere you look.
A pair of well-groomed women toting Chanel bags are slumped on plush sofas, poring over their iPhones, while an immaculately-dressed doorman takes deliveries with white-gloved hands.
Battersea Power Station in South-West London has undergone something of a dramatic Grand Designs-style makeover. Having lain empty since 1983, the colossal Grade II-listed building has been transformed into an uber-luxurious residential development for £9 billion.
With its sky-high apartments — one of which is on the market for £16 million — private spas, pools, cinemas and restaurants, the power station has become the place to live for the UK’s power players.
Last month, four decades after it was decommissioned and 13 years after planning began, the first residents moved in.
SARAH RAINEY has been granted exclusive access to see how the other half live …
A-list neighbours to look out for
If you fancy living next door to a celebrity, there’s no better place. Pop legend Sting, 69, and his wife Trudie Styler, 67, bought an apartment in the development in 2014, describing it as ‘love at first sight’.
The pair own a property in Circus West Village, where prices range from £495,000 for a studio flat to £3.2 million for a four-bedroom apartment.
Power station residents can also rub shoulders with TV adventurer Bear Grylls, 46, who owns an apartment there with his wife Shara, 47, and three sons. The family has lived in Battersea for years. He said it was a ‘chance to own a little bit of history’.
Power station residents can rub shoulders with TV adventurer Bear Grylls and his wife Shara
Don’t be surprised if you spot the Beckhams on a day out. Victoria has a design studio in Battersea and David is often found having a kickabout with the boys in Battersea Park.
While other property owners — many from China, Singapore and Hong Kong — may not be instantly recognisable, among them you’ll find social media influencers, shipping tycoons and the odd oligarch.
Tech moguls also abound. This year, 1,400 Apple employees will descend as the power station becomes its new London HQ, taking over six floors of the historic Boiler House.
Concierge is just a click away
‘The Power Club’, is a members-only smartphone app that functions as a social media network. They can receive notifications from the concierge about deliveries or visitors — and message them any time of day or night, wherever they are in the world.
The app was launched in 2017 and residents have used it to set up book clubs, salsa clubs and tennis clubs. ‘However challenging or unusual the request is, we ask residents to set the bar high,’ says a representative from high-end estate agency Copperstones, which is brokering the sales of some of the highest-priced apartments.
From private jet hire to luxury villa rentals and VIP tickets to events including Glastonbury, California’s Coachella music festival, the Baftas and the Cannes Film Festival, this is a concierge with a difference.
A partnership with Goodwood Estate means residents gain exclusive access to classic car races, golf and horseracing on the 330-year-old West Sussex estate.
If a quiet night in is your thing, your butler can help you book one of the many social lounges — including a library, screening room and games room, complete with 75 in TV and antique chess table.
When the next stage of development is completed, some elite residents will also benefit from round-the-clock room service —just like living in a five-star hotel.
When the first apartments in the development went on sale in 2013, £600 million worth of property sold in a four-day stampede, the fastest time on record in the UK. Sales have slowed now, so if luxury living is your thing, there are lots of options up for grabs.
The 4,329 flats come in 175 designs, with the priciest on Boiler House Square, in the body of the main power station with river views.
The apartment boasts stunning interiors with floor-to-ceiling windows and luxury bathrooms
One six-bedroom apartment set across the 11th and 12th floors, on sale for £16 million, features chic Gaggenau appliances and marble worktops in the kitchen, seven bathrooms, three reception rooms, a sprawling outdoor terrace and floor-to-ceiling windows.
The cheapest option now available is a £610,000 studio apartment, located in the yet-to-be-completed Battersea Roof Gardens area. With a bed in the living room and a tiny bathroom, it has a view of the nearby train tracks — and if you want parking, it will set you back another £15,000.
There’s also the option to rent, with prices ranging between £525 and £2,000 per week.
Now under construction are two medical centres, a creche, a playground and a six-acre riverside park — as well as a soon-to-be-unveiled Tube station, which cost the developers more than £260 million.
Awash with top fitness facilities
When you want to work up a sweat, there is no shortage of options. Bear Grylls’ bootcamp has a prime riverside location and members can run through rigorous routines.
Next year, boxing champ Anthony Joshua will be opening a branch of his boutique gym, BXR, there. Regulars include Victoria’s Secret models. Membership costs £300 a month to outsiders but is included in residents’ service charges. There’s also a Boom Cycle studio, combining spin sessions with pop music. Clients include David Beckham.
Residents can take time out at The Spring spa. Soak in the 20-metre pool or relax in the sauna and hot tub.
The apartment building boasts a 20-metre swimming pool
Deluxe designs making history
Leading architects WilkinsonEyre are behind the restoration.
They have retained the building’s connection with industry and stayed faithful to the designs of original architect Sir Giles Gilbert Scott. Each apartment is set off spacious hallways, complete with exposed brickwork and steel rivets along the walls.
They drew the line at pumping authentic smells into the former coal-fuelled power station, though. Cedar and saffron diffusers are everywhere.
Interior specialists Michaelis Boyd — behind renovations at chic private members’ retreats Babington House and Soho Farmhouse — were in charge of kitting out the 254 luxury apartments inside the main building.
Among the eye-catching features in each are cast-iron black radiators, lacquered brass kitchen fittings, steel-framed Crittall windows and Art Deco-style bathrooms tiled in teal and gold.
Buyers can choose to have their property unfurnished or decked out by a top interiors company such as Conran And Partners.
Cuisine catered by top chefs
You might have the kitchen of your dreams but that doesn’t mean you have to cook in it.
With offerings by top chefs Gordon Ramsay, Francesco Mazzei and Vivek Singh on your doorstep, eating in is rarely an option. Residents can tuck into £95 platters of lobster and oysters at seafood specialists Wright Bros, or enjoy brunch at chic Mediterranean eatery Megan’s.
There’s even an on-site brewery and wine bar, as well as No 29, a neighbourhood gastropub.
For everyday essentials, forget supermarkets. Locals can pop into the Battersea General Store, a delicatessen, bakery and corner shop selling everything from truffle-infused cheeses and finest smoked salmon to Molton Brown diffusers (£29.99), Le Creuset teapots (£45.99) and six-litre Methuselahs of Whispering Angel rosé (£449.99).
Great glass elevator to a chimney top
The Chimney Lift Experience — due to be completed early next year — is another exclusive attraction.
A Willy Wonka-esque glass elevator, it transports visitors 109 metres (358 ft) up inside one of the power station’s iconic chimneys, all of which were rebuilt as part of the restoration work. At the top, you will find a viewing platform with skyline vistas.
The futuristic lift holds 30 people and can also be hired out for private parties. Tickets — for which there is expected to be a long waiting list — will be sold by entertainment giant IMG, which also runs the Natural History Museum Ice Rink and Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park.
Biggest roof garden in Europe
Sting and Trudie will soon have somewhere fabulous to practise their downward dogs. The third phase, due to open next year, is Battersea Roof Gardens, built on the top of a cluster of sculptural blocks designed by British architects Foster + Partners.
The breathtaking green space will feature alfresco bars and restaurants, secluded sunbathing spots, a residents’ ‘Sky lounge’, an open-air pool and a yoga lawn.
Residents Sting and Trudie will soon have somewhere fabulous to practise their downward dogs
It is masterminded by James Corner of Field Operations, the visionary landscape designers behind New York’s High Line, and is described as a ‘haven of peace and tranquillity’.
Other features of the 1,200 ft-long space — Europe’s largest roof terrace — include London’s highest vegetable patch. There will also be barbecues, fitness classes and outdoor cinema screenings. The bad news? It’s for residents only.
Entertainment is endless
There is no shortage of events on offer, from catching the latest blockbuster at the three-screen Archlight cinema to enjoying a pre-West End show at the Turbine Theatre.
A concert venue for 1,400 people is also in the works, and the former control room is set to become a cultural venue, hosting art exhibitions, fashion shows and music events.
Even a trip to the hairdresser here counts as entertainment. At Paul Edmonds’ VIP salon — where a cut and blow-dry costs between £85 and £300 and luxury facials will set you back £275 — customers are treated to a glass of fizz during their treatment.
Don’t be surprised if you spot a celebrity nipping in for a trim; Paul’s famous clients include Margot Robbie, Keira Knightley and Emma Thompson.
On-site dentist White & Co will be offering cosmetic procedures, teeth whitening and veneers.
Shop, shop . . . and don’t stop
More than 200 retailers are setting up shop at the power station, with the huge central turbine hall being transformed into a high-end, ultra-modern shopping mall.
Turbine Hall A will be reserved for premium brands, including Rolex, Hugo Boss, Jo Malone, and Kiehl’s, while Turbine Hall B will house a more eclectic mix such as Uniqlo and eyewear brand Finlay & Co.
An astonishing 700,000 sq ft (equivalent to ten football pitches) will be devoted to shopping, with 90 retail units in the power station building alone.