U+I wins Albert Embankment development gig

Selected by the London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority

U+I has been selected by the London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority to redevelop 8 Albert Embankment.

Florian Place

Completed in 1937, the 200,000 square foot Grade II listed building was originally the headquarters of the London Fire Brigade before becoming the home to Lambeth fire station. It sits on a prime 2.5 acre plot, the future of which has been the subject of much speculation over the last few years.

The LFEPA officially invited pitches from developers for the scheme – previously monikered Florian Place – back in September. It’s been on resi drawing boards for some time though: Native Land floated a plan to rework the site back in 2007, but the idea for a £230m 265-unit luxury scheme didn’t appear to wash with the planners.

The Fire Authority decided to take a slightly different tack last year, putting the freehold interest in the building up for sale with no asking price to help fund redevelopment.

A statement released by the LFEPA at the time read: “The Authority is seeking to appoint a development partner, in order to achieve the best consideration which is reasonably obtainable from the freehold interest in 8 Albert Embankment, while re-providing Lambeth fire station and incorporating the new London Fire Brigade Museum (LFB) in the scheme for the property. The disposal is to secure the release of latent value to cover the cost of providing these facilities and to maximise the capital and other receipts to the Authority by optimising the use and value of the site.”

Now regeneration specialists U+I have been named as development partner, after entering into a Public Private Partnership project with LFEPA. The team has confirmed it’s working on a “mixed-use regeneration” involving brand new facilities that’s designed to “breathe new life into the site and create a new landmark for London”. A GDV of £300m is currently being bandied around.

A statement released by U+I included a bit more detail: “Our plans for the site will take the fire station into the next chapter of its life, completely redesigning the space to create a modern, fit-for-purpose fire station and training yard….Our plans for 8 Albert Embankment will also see the London Fire Brigade museum, formerly located in Southwark, reopened with an expanded collection that tells the story of firefighting from the Great Fire of London to present day.”

Sue Budden, Director of Finance and Contractual Services at LFB: “This decision moves us closer to redeveloping this site, some of which has been vacant since 2008. It is important that this moves forward, in order to protect an important cultural London landmark and to reflect the needs of the local community. Rehousing the Brigade’s museum in a purpose built space will  help mean we can modernise our exhibits, host more school visits and encourage more families to come and learn about our history and about fire prevention which is a key part of our community safety work. This development also means we can modernise Lambeth fire station, dramatically improving the facilities for our firefighters but also provide a space that the community can use too.”

Once all the legal stuff has been sorted, Brigade officers and the developer will work with local planners, residents and other stakeholders to prepare a planning application for the site, which has been designated a major development opportunity by the London Borough of Lambeth.

U+I has a strong track record of delivering mixed-use regen projects with public bodies; recent endeavours include The Deptford Project (with Lewisham Council), and Clapham One (with Lambeth Council).

Image by Peter Jordan and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence