Architect Richard Rogers has won the race to pick up one of the most prestigious masterplans in the country, the £2bn Wood Wharf scheme in London Docklands
The 8 ha site is the biggest to be developed in the area since Canary Wharf and would create a new quarter in one of the capital’s fastest growing areas.
The Richard Rogers Partnership is understood to be on the point of being selected from an undisclosed shortlist. The client for the scheme is a 50:50 joint venture between British Waterways, which is a public corporation, and private developers Canary Wharf and Ballymore.
Canary Wharf and Ballymore were picked as preferred development partners in January. Other bids were entered by British Land, Grosvenor and Stanhope.
RRP has been working with the private sector developers on the designs but is now about to be appointed by British Waterways as well. A source at the firm said RRP would advance an initial masterplan for the site completed by Bath architect Nick Kuhn two years ago.
The source said: “There are obviously constraints from the original masterplan but we will be looking at the overall site again.”
Kuhn’s masterplan has been enshrined in Tower Hamlets council’s supplementary planning guidance. It provides for at least 460,000 m2 of floorspace, of which 330,000 m2 will be commercial and 120,000 m2 residential.
Stuart Mills, British Waterways’ head of property, refused to be drawn on the appointment but said the masterplanner would be joined by other architects to design individual phases in future.
He said: “This kind of site seldom becomes available. It has the potential to become a world-class opportunity, and we are looking for something quite special.”
Mills added that the client was aiming to submit an outline planning application in the middle of next year, with the intention of starting building 18 months from now.
Wood Wharf as a whole will take 15 years to build.
RRP is already involved in work in the area. Last month Lewisham council in south-east London gave outline planning consent for the firm’s scheme at Convoy’s Wharf in Deptford, a brownfield regeneration project that includes three residential towers ranging from 26 to 40 storeys and a total of 3500 homes, of which 35% have been designated for affordable housing.
Rogers is also working on a 279,000 m2 office and shops scheme at Riverside South on the Isle of Dogs. The scheme comprises two office towers up to 34 floors, the second of which would be the second highest in Canary Wharf after One Canada Square.