Property news: the best new city apartments with an eye on the future
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Clean and green
The scorching summer of 2021 in southern Europe has, unsurprisingly, underlined the importance of fast-forwarding sustainability, and Barcelona is a city with a plan. Mayor Ada Colau is determined to cut emissions by 50 per cent by 2030 on a journey to carbon neutrality by 2050. To do so, the Catalan capital is increasingly adopting car-free “superblocks” and creating green spaces to absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen. Various prime and super-prime developments are following suit, such as the colourful Antares (above, from €850,000 through Knight Frank), where wellness and biophilic design take precedence. Meanwhile, FM10 Francesc Macià 10 (remaining units from €8m through Beauchamp Estates), by Brazilian architects Studio MK27, has not only become Spain’s first residential building to gain BREEAM certification for its sustainability, but has also achieved its highest price per sq m to date.
The work-life balance
As companies in the US, Europe and the UK are forced to acknowledge that full-time work no longer means full time in the office, major cities are reforming themselves in different directions. According to property experts, the balance in favour of WFH will largely depend on how long it takes to get to the office and how much spare space people have at home. Sprawling cities with long commutes such as LA (where the fully serviced Mandarin Oriental residences in Beverly Hills, $3.6m to $40m, come with personal outside space) will likely veer towards teleworking, while those with compact city centres, such as Amsterdam (where Engel & Völkers, is selling a two-bedroom centrally located apartment, above, for €795,000), look set to encourage workers to get back on their bikes.
Leading ski locations in Europe and the US have held up unusually well over the past year, offering home hunters fresh air, exercise and plenty of communing with nature. What buyers are not looking for, however, is domestic drudgery, so branded residences offering hotel-style services – a relative rarity in the Alps – have become a popular option. Both the Chedi Andermatt in the Swiss Alps (SFr6.3m to SFr18.8m – about £5m to about £14.9m – through Savills), which is open to all nationalities, and the Lefay Wellness Residences (below, from €990,000, also via Savills) in the Italian Dolomites tick the boxes: luxury, health and wellbeing and the minimum of chores.
Prime central London has often struggled to match the expansive square footage of the world’s other top urban locations, something likely to become a growing issue after Westminster City Council’s recent decision to limit future apartment size to just 200sq m. Fortunately for those seeking palatial proportions, several new developments offer a last-chance opportunity. The 26 residences at Belgravia’s The Peninsula Hotel, overlooking Hyde Park Corner, come with luxuries expected of the brand such as a wellness spa and hotel services, but also benefit from high ceilings and rangy layouts like those found in a 370sq m, three-bedroom apartment (below, POA, through Knight Frank). Ample space is also on offer at No 1 Grosvenor Square, formerly the Canadian High Commissioner’s official residence. Here, a four-bedroom apartment with family-home dimensions and uninterrupted views over the historic square is on the market at £27.5m through Savills.
If the events of the past two years have shown anything, it’s how much “we’re guided by the science”, and locations with high concentrations of research scientists are thriving. Savills has ranked the top 20 global centres influencing innovation. Many overlap with well-established tech hubs such as the US’s San Francisco and Seattle, but joining them at the top of the league table are academic clusters with family-friendly lifestyles like Boston (below, where Gibson Sotheby’s International Realty is selling a three-bedroom apartment for $6.995m), and its English counterparts, Oxford and Cambridge (where Bidwells is selling a five-bedroom family house in Knights Park for £1.79m).