As our area of focus is a relatively small slice of Central London, as a business we are less concerned with greenfield or indeed brownfield site development, while there are important considerations here around around protecting farmland on the one hand and redeveloping neglected sites on the other, we choose to zero in on ‘smart growth’ in urban locations instead.
The benefits of redevelopment and infill sites intended for mixed-use in densely populated, high-demand areas of a metropolis such as London are numerous.
For example, compact building design is a given as space is at too much of a premium in the City of London; reducing the overall massing has obvious benefits in terms of the building’s energy demand.
Transportation links and walkability scores tend to be high in such locations and we are building in existing communities rather than encouraging urban sprawl, leveraging the infrastructure around us.
This in turn means that we are unlikely to have any issues with environmentally sensitive land development as the land has already been previously developed and we then remain within the existing footprint.
Another benefit, can be when a project is in an infill site within a historic district such as the Square Mile in London, this presents an opportunity for us to both enhance neighborhood character whilst bringing new life to underutilized buildings.
For clarity, we define an ‘infill site’ as a site where at least 75% of the land area is previously developed (LEED V4).
Equally, when we come across historically significant building remains such as parts of the old London Wall we will look to integrate these into the new building design, elevating them into a part of the narrative, ideally even part of the visitor experience.
Surrounding Density & Diverse Uses
Given our strategic focus on central London sites, there is generally no issue with us meeting LEED surrounding density requirements (between 0.5 – 0.8 Dwelling Units / DU) and diversity of use thresholds (building entrance within 0.5miles from eight or more diverse uses, such as a bank, pharmacy, gym or hotel).
In environmental terms, this equates to increased walkability, access to public transport and a reduction in vehicle use for building occupants and visitors.
Access to Quality Transit
Again, focusing on City of London sites pretty much guarantees that we hit the LEED requirements for access to transit, whether that be the 0.25mile walking distance to a bus stop or 0.5 mile walk to a train station.
Providing adequate support for cyclists is a key part of any project we undertake as it promotes a healthy lifestyle whilst also reducing the potential environmental impact of vehicle use amongst building occupants or visitors.
For us this means going beyond bike storage for 2.5% of peak visitors / minimum of four or long-term bike storage for 5% of building users / minimum of four and one shower facility for the first 100 regular building users plus one extra for every 150 regular occupants thereafter, as defined by LEED.
We aim to achieve 1 cycle space/locker per 500/700 sq ft., and 1 shower per 10/12,000 sq ft. These facilities should be thought of as more than cycle spaces. They will also be used by runners, and for those changing for an evening function. The route from the road to the facility should be carefully thought through (e.g. ramp rather than a lift, with no crossing of service yards, etc.)
We aim to locate bike facilities close to a building entrance, allowing generous space for lockers, changing areas and showers as a way to make cycling to and from the building as simple a decision as possible.
Access to nearby bike share schemes, now seemingly ubiquitous on the streets of central London, as well as dedicated bike lanes is only becoming easier and easier thanks to the efforts of the Lord Mayor’s office to promote cycling, particularly post COVID19.
Parking & Green Vehicles
On-site parking is often not even an option for a historic redevelopment project, such as our 68 King William Street, whereas there may be opportunities in a new build development.
We follow LEED guidelines in not exceeding minimum local code requirements for parking capacity and, in turn, implementing a 40% reduction in base ratios recommended by the British Parking Association.
As car pooling remains a relatively unknown practice in London, we look to the designation of at least 5% of all parking spaces for Green or Electric Vehicles as well as Electric Vehicle charging stations for a minimum of 2% of all parking spaces.
For more on our Environmental Policy, see here.