At Southwark Notes, we follow our sense of duty to mapping new build gentrification in the local area just to keep some kind of useful record of what is going on but also to make some kind of sense of what, how and why all these developments come to The Elephant area. It must be also said we research and report on these schemes with a mixed sense of wonder, heavy hearts but mostly bewilderment.

So, with this in mind, we report that a new addition to The Elephant landscape will soon include the Metropolis apartments, starting price £385,000 for a nice two bedroom flat and £450,000 for three bedroom apartment above a brand spanking new Tesco Express on the corner of Harper Rd and New Kent Rd. Luxury indeed! :

Vision is delighted to announce the launch-to-market of Metropolis – the latest addition to The SE1 Collection, a magnificent collection of new, super-stylish and high specification apartments available in one of London’s most vibrant and exciting city quarters.

New kids on the block and quietly hammering away are Vision Homes whose  SE1 Collection has already developed sites on Grange Rd and forthcoming on Wilds Rents. Now Vision is here on the New Kent Rd.  All three of these developments are described without a wink even as ‘the cutting edge of City property‘ which is true if you are holding your map of London upside down.

Old New Kent Rd style…before the arrival of Metropolis

New New Kent Rd ambience with added Metropolis!

Needless to say this development was heavily marketed to overseas investors in Singapore and other usual places to sell unseen flats off-plan to those who have the cash to speculate financially or desire for a second or third home in this exciting lively South London quarter. Such an opportunity is described below just so we can state the obvious again that an estimated 2/3rd’s of all of London’s new build apartments are sold to overseas investors:

“Gordon & Co are pleased to introduce Metropolis SE1, a development of 10 high quality apartments in SE1 with expected rental yields in excess of 5%. Metropolis is located along the New Kent Road moments from our office and the Elephant and Castle regeneration zone which has £1.5bn of investment pledged to the area, including the development of new squares, green spaces and residential and commercial developments, which are set to transform the area”. *-)

Or this too from a simple Google search for “Metropolis, New Kent Rd Singapore“:

LONDON Property – SE1-Metropolis: Investment & purchasing points : Why London now? Weak british sterling pound. Historic low interest rate. 2012 Olympics. British locals very difficult to get housing loans. Uob & Ocbc financing up to 70% at sgd loan, 2.7% p.a.”

We read on the Internet the reason why so many rich folks from Singapore have become one of the main investors in the ever-booming London property markets and it’s because of a high stamp duty on purchases of real estate in Singapore, the strength of the Singapore dollar and the attractiveness of higher incomes from renting out real estate in London. Investors from Singapore currently amount for a quarter of the foreign buyers of expensive real estate in London! Worth adding too that London remains an investment bubble, house prices in the rest of the UK have been falling for almost two years. Anyhow, at the end of the day, for us the point is not the nationality of any rich investor or homebuyer in London but more how the global property market seeks to build where returns are good. Nowadays it almost seems like a mere by-product of this chase for the best profits in property development that someone might actually end up living in any of these new buildings.

Pics below from the Metropolis brochure included too help you (or is it us?) understand what this ‘lifestyle‘ thing is all about. Seems to depict some sort aspiration to live in a narcissistic bubble of self-congratulation and smugness surrounded by lots of nice things, the things being a glowing symbol of your success or your credit card melting down. Having said that we do wonder what kind of luxurious lifestyle really includes ‘Sky+ enabled sockets‘, ‘telephone points‘, ‘German kitchen units *-)’. Blimey, telephone points!

We mean, ok, these are only posed photographs created to sell over expensive housing in poor parts of London but they must appeal to somewhere. Not that we at Southwark Notes are some sort of spartan hermits who live in caves without hot water, leccy and the odd essential lifestyle item – toaster, maybe! We don’t have a problem with things themselves or wanting to live in a place you make how you like it but we do have a problem when the things serve less of a functional purpose (like making the toast) but act more so as an advertisement for the self –   “My dirty dishes were washed up in my Phillipe Starck sink by the way!” That kind of thing. But we digress into personal alienations of ours, forgive us. Enjoy the following simulations of London lifestyle and all its wacky toothy smiley horror:

Barefoot on Facebook!

They’ll be eating the dinner off that floor!

Anywhere else is good!

Despite Metropolis being in one of the most vibrant London quarters, you’ll notice that the brochure refers to the new flats as being only 9 minutes away from Piccadilly Circus and other parts of town. The brochure doesn’t mention anything in the local Elephant area as being worth checking out, in fact, it merely lists a lot of other further away places that you could travel too once you leave your Elephant front door!

Pictured here are some boutiques from ‘London’s most vibrant and exciting city quarters’.

Also worth pointing out for us lowly researchers of the changes in the local area that it’s a kind of double whammy for us that the block not only consists of expensive apartments but it’s situated above yet another new Tesco’s. If your Armani Wholegrain Toasting Bread with Dill, Sage and Perugian Ferret Shavings is unavailable downstairs you can use the excellent integrated transport hub of The Elephant to try any of the following other local Tescos:
Walworth Rd (two stores), Long Lane, Tooley St, Kennington Park Rd, Borough Rd, Great Suffolk St, Tower Bridge Rd and, of course, The Elephant!

Finally, Vision has obviously not done their homework as there is already a set of flats called Metropolis in Oswin St at The Elephant, these homes being interestingly enough part of the very first wave of new residential development from approximately 1999 alongside the Metro Central Heights re-jig.

Finally, finally, we imagine this Metropolis probably contributes it’s own vision of a New London, of further and further division between the haves and the have-nots that seems pretty much straight out of this older Metropolis! Scary