Football fans snap up luxury Highbury Stadium development apartments
As the baton passed from Beijing to London this week, so the pressure on the 2012 Olympic organisers cranked up a gear. Their dilemma cast into sharp relief by the unveiled threats from the IOC that London must deliver an even better Games than China. This, set against the ODA's commitment to the UK taxpayers that the funds pouring into the three week event would have a lasting legacy for the UK’s capital clearly added to the tension. While the great and good were attending the Olympic handover in Beijing, so another handover was being prepared in London. The conversion of a former football stadium into apartments is living proof that innovative design can provide a second life for a major sports venue.
For 93 years Highbury stadium in London was energised by thousands of fans who would pile in to cheer on the world-renowned Arsenal football team. Following the team’s move to the new Emirates Stadium two years ago, the old art-deco arena is getting a new pulse as it is transformed into a luxury residential development.
The design, by Allies and Morrison and commissioned as an investment by Arsenal, will create 700 residential 1, 2 or 3 bed apartments and penthouses encircling a two-acre communal garden space, cleverly divided along the old chalk lines of the pitch.
The development acts as part of a wider regeneration scheme for the Kings Cross area which saw the development of the Emirates Stadium and the renovation of St Pancras Station.
Highbury Square, as the residential phase of the stadium development is known, will retain many of the original art deco features including the Marble Hall. The design is based upon the retention and conversion of the existing Grade II listed East Stand, the West Stand, also of historic significance but not listed, and the existing pitch area located between the two stands. The original tunnel will also be preserved as an entrance to the pitch-turned-landscaped-gardens designed by Christopher Bradley-Hole.
Despite turbulent times for the housing market, 90% of the apartments have been pre-sold to residents hoping to score a piece of football history. Surrounding the old football pitch the layout lends itself to the balconies and terraces which help to give the development a luxurious edge, along with the 24 hour concierge and fitness centre with pool of course. Similar to the hierarchy in football stadia, the North and South stands are at the top of the hierarchy with their own separate courtyards. While the development as a whole is scheduled to complete in 2010, South Stand residents will be able to move in later this month.
Niki May Young