Special Delivery: Sager and Cain Hoy unveil £400m Islington Square scheme

Sager Group and Cain Hoy have lifted the lid on their much-anticipated reimagining of the ginormous former North London Royal Mail Centre.

Behind happening Upper Street, the sprawling 500,000 square foot site is currently being transformed into “Islington Square” by the joint venture, a major new address delivering 263 new homes, serviced apartments, new retail outlets, restaurants and leisure facilities. The designs promise a mash-up of restored Edwardian buildings with new-build elements, all focused around a public boulevard. It’s worth noting that the last time an Edwardian warehouse conversion scheme of this scale was undertaken in London was back in the 1990s with the creation of Harrods Village in Barnes.

In its heyday, the Royal Mail had over 3,000 uniformed postal workers on site here and dealt with post from all over the UK and the British Empire. But as times changed and space requirements shrunk, the bulk of the operations moved into new state-of-the-art facilities on Eagle Wharf Road, leaving a massive prime resi development opportunity behind.

Bagging the green light in 2007 and 2012, the masterplan involves four main buildings: 8 Esther Anne Place (the main Edwardian building); 11 Esther Anne Place (an entirely new-build scheme); 17 Esther Anne Place (with its retained Edwardian facade and new basement and upper floors); and two resi units in the former Mitre Public House. The Edwardian buildings were originally designed by architect Jasper Wager.

“Considered, design-led living spaces” are promised, with high ceilings and loft-style living in the former sorting office and “striking design-led floor plans” in the new-build apartments. There’ll be a range of one-, two- and three-bed apartments, along with penthouses and maisonettes. Prices are starting at £715k, with Savills, Knight Frank and Beauchamp Estates in charge of the sales.

They’re certainly going to town with the launch. Following a “special preview evening” on Thursday, the site is being opened up to the general public this weekend in the name of a free “Festival of Culture”, involving food and drink, free family-friendly activities, a comedy night, live music, theatre and dance, a community garden, pop-up cinema, workshops, light displays and an appropriate sprinkling of celebs; Richard Herring, Abandoman, Joel Dommett, Imran Yusuf, Miss Hope Springs, Björn Again, Duke and Nathan Watson and Danny Toeman are all expected to head down at some stage. It’s being billed as “the most glitzy and expensive resi sales launch taking place in London this year”…

Giris Rabinovitch, CEO of Sager Group: “Islington Square is a once in a lifetime opportunity to create a new destination for London. It sits in the heart of Islington, which is steeped in history and culture. The site, which is the former North London Royal Mail sorting and delivery centre, would have been the apex for all communication in and out of North London. The team at Sager Group and our partners are extremely excited about bringing this scheme forward. The 500,000 square foot site will be opened up to the public for the first time, with the new and existing buildings centred around a public boulevard; it will be a place for Londoners to live, work and play.

“From Upper Street there will be two arcades leading to the public square, one of which will run through the central arches in the former general post office counter building on Upper Street and the other, next to The Mitre. Walking through the retail arcades and into the public square, visitors and residents will be met by the imposing Edwardian facades, which will contain a mixture of retail at ground level and residential units above.”

Here’s a sneak preview…

Savills T: 020 7409 8756/savills.co.uk/newhomes@savills.com

Knight Frank T: 020 7861 5499/knightfrank.co.uk/Islingtonsquare@knightfrank.com

Beauchamp Estates T: 020 7499 7722/beauchamp.co.uk/Islingtonsquare@beauchamp.co.uk