Creating luxury homes

In the heart of fashionable Camden in north London, on the site of a famous ice cream parlour, Bellis Homes’ Marine Ices development is set to provide a striking addition to the area. Jack Wooler reports

Only a short walk from Camden Market and Camden Lock, Bellis Homes is constructing 19 modern apartments on a site famous locally for a very different use – a historic ice cream parlour.

Ranging from one to three bedrooms and from 566 ft2 to 1,221 ft2, the homes at the Marine Ices development (which takes its name from its iconic predecessor) offer vibrant finishes, CCTV, large balconies and composite oak panelled front doors with security features. There are eight one beds, nine two beds and two three beds, along with three commercial units, designated for class A1, A3, or D2.

Following expected completion this May, residents will also be able to enjoy the convenience of retail space on the ground floor of the structure. In addition, the building is in close proximity to a supermarket.

Designed by 21st Architecture, great care has been taken to keep the building in keeping with its surroundings. Interior designers Darsah & Alexander James have also been employed to ensure the property is of a high specification both inside and out.

Heritage Flavour

The building is set on the grounds of a former ice cream parlour, founded by gelato pioneer Gaetano Mansi in 1931. Bringing the taste of authentic Italian gelato to Londoners, his reputation soon spread, and so did his parlours. The same ice creams are now enjoyed in many places, including his new Mansi parlour just a few steps from the apartment block.

Henry Fordham, director at Bellis Homes, explained further: “Marine Ices is regarded as a jewel in London’s ice cream crown, and is a celebration of taste, passion and heritage.”

He added: “Originally the Marine Ices factory occupied the upper levels of the building.”

Camden itself is a very attractive area to live and invest in, making the quality finish and high specification of Marine Ices essential. Conveniently located on Haverstock Hill, opposite Chalk Farm station, the building is within sight of the world-renowned and Grade II listed Roundhouse venue, and the area enjoys a rich history.

Camden has long been known for its diverse community, from affluent young professionals, students artists and celebrity residents. Including musical and fashion icons dead and alive, celebrity residents range from Charles Dickens to Gwyneth Paltrow.

Bellis described what sets Marine Ices apart from the company’s other developments: “It’s an incredible location,” he began. “Although we have other developments in prime locations, Marine Ice’s stands out as being our closest to the heart of London.”

The Northern line is accessible through Chalk Farm tube station – situated opposite the development.

Bellis explained why the firm was particularly keen on Camden: “Growth in the Camden housing market prices were 19.2 per cent in 2017; this is the biggest increase in any London Borough by quite a significant amount.

“The vibrant borough is internationally famous for its fashion, market, and the arts. This, along with the successful businesses, will create very strong demand for these homes.”

The build

After a short delay, with the pre-commencement work taking far longer than expected, the build is now well underway. The delay in fact enabled the team to be fully designed and prepared, allowing for a seamless construction programme.

During the build, Bellis have been digging a basement very close to the Northern Line. A detailed basement design had to be fully engineered prior to even demolishing the building, in order to make certain that the company were fully prepared to excavate a basement with as little impact to the neighbourhood as possible.

A London Stock brick has been used to match the existing facade on the east elevation on Crogsland Road, and some modern cladding has been utilised on the top floor. In reference to the building’s namesake parlour, an ice cream cone design has been incorporated into the brickwork.

The build has adhered strictly to sustainability requirements, with the design achieving a BREEAM rating of ‘very good’.

Many community aspects were incorporated into the build, as Henry explained: “We are surrounded by numerous businesses, homes and most notably Haverstock Hill School.

“Subsequently, the community in a built up area is an absolute priority. We have had several liaison meetings, as well as a newsletter keeping everyone in the loop with the build.

“We have produced both a demolition and construction management plan which highlights our community liaison work regarding how we plan to best minimise traffic, noise, vibration and the environment.” These reports are available on Camden’s website for any of the community to access.

“We also aim to procure staff locally,” added Henry, “as well as providing work experience and apprenticeships in the local colleges and schools.”

A growing market

Bellis Homes is confident in the apartment’s success, with high levels of growth and rising market prices.

“Camden’s heritage and history speaks for itself, with a vast amount of businesses located within the area, from architecture, media, performing arts and fashion through to all the markets, retail and restaurants,” said Henry.

“It is a thriving borough of London, and thus, we anticipate young professionals and families to be the end users of the development.”

Camden is a prominent place within London and is known across the world for its lively cultural spirit. This is likely to continue to increase the area’s growth in the coming years, along with the potential high rental return in the central location being likely to attract both overseas and local investors.

With a rich backstory which buyers are likely to devour as happily as the location, the menu is appetising for this scheme, and developer Bellis Homes.