Vinci comes up roses with $2bn New Covent Garden scheme

The UK subsidiary of French construction group Vinci will begin work next year on the £2bn redevelopment of the New Covent Garden Market in south-west London – home to a huge flower market – after the scheme received planning permission from Wandsworth council.  

The project will developed in a number of phases over the next 10 years. It will consolidate the existing fruit, vegetable and flower markets into a 45,000 square metre site.  

This will release land for redevelopment, and the plan is to create three residential neighbourhoods containing 3,000 homes, along with 12,500 square metres of office space and 9,000 square metres of retail.  

The client for the scheme, the Covent Garden Market Authority (CGMA), said it expected work to begin on the scheme in the spring. The first phase will involve enabling works such as the  upgrading of utilities and other infrastructure in preparation for the construction phase, which will begin in 2016. 

Vinci will be the joint developer of the site, alongside the St Modwen, a Birmingham-based firm that specialises in urban regeneration projects. The two have formed a 50:50 joint venture called Vinci St Modwen (VSM).  

Bill Oliver, the chief executive of St Modwen, said: "Wandsworth council’s decision allows us to contribute to the long-term transformation of London’s newest residential and commercial quarter while securing the future of New Covent Garden Market by delivering vitally important world-class market facilities.  

"The VSM and CGMA teams have worked closely with the Council, local businesses and the local community to ensure that the scheme benefits all stakeholders and we look forward to continuing our work with them to enable a start on site in the first half of 2015." 

Pam Alexander, the chair of CGMA, said: "I am grateful to Wandsworth council and all who have worked so hard to ensure the future of New Covent Garden Market as a key landmark at the heart of Nine Elms on the Southbank in the week that the market celebrates 40 years here at Nine Elms." 

The redevelopment of New Covent Garden Market is part of a wider series of regeneration projects in the area, including Nine Elms and Battersea Power Station and an extension of London Underground’s Northern Line to the area. 

The market is reckoned to provide almost half the fruit and vegetables eaten outside the home in London, and the flower market supplies almost three-quarters of the city’s florists.

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