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Salamanca Square, an Overview
Situated in its own enclave, the three towers that make up Salamanca Square were built in 2004 and were one of the first developments to recognise the potential of the Albert Embankment area with its burgeoning nightlife, cafes, art galleries and increasing residential allure.
Ten years on in 2014 Nine Elms and the Albert Embankment promises to be the one of London’s most sought after neighbourhoods offering Riverside living, Fantastic transport links, and a new destination for commercial and community activity.
Each of the Salamanca Square towers is made up of one, two and three bedroom apartments that have proved to be consistently popular as primary residencies, buy-to-let investors and as holiday apartments.
Prices reflect their second/third hand owner status making them very attractive opportunities for those purchasers who enjoy refurbishments and interior design projects, but without the nightmare of major rebuilding!
A History of Salamanca Square
Although one cannot find any official documentation, it would be reasonable to assume that Salamanca Street and Salamanca Place where the square is situated is named after the Battle of Salamanca in which England’s Duke of Wellington assisted the Spanish to defeat the French outside the town of Salamanca. This doesn’t quite reflect other surrounding street names which were named after landowners and philanthropists in the area, but still reflects a continuing pride in England’s military history.
Given that the area of Vauxhall and Nine Elms was a very industrial area in the 19th and early 20th Century followed by a period of grey faceless office blocks in the 1960’s the white and terracotta coloured towers of Salamanca Place offer a refreshing respite.
This is somewhat in stark contrast to the heavily ornate building opposite, the former factory and offices of the famous ceramic manufacturer Royal Doulton reflecting the change in tastes of modern society.
The drawdock, on which the barges would have delivered goods to the factory still exists (although not in action) and is immediately outside Salamanca Place. Lambeth arts celebrated this industrial heritage by making White Hart Dock, as it is known a piece of public art, creating a series of oak arches over the water and public benches that look like the prow of a boat upended. This is a nice touch that is in-keeping with another more monumental piece of public art at the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) building further along the Albert Embankment. The IMO boasts a phenomenal bronze sculpture by artist Michael Sandle who incidentally comes from a seafaring family himself.
This recent piece of public art also reflects the changes in the general area and it is worth reading more about Living & Investing in Salamanca Square
Living & Investing In Salamanca Square
Anyone reading about the history of the Albert Embankment and Vauxhall may think it a hotbed of debauchery and louchness given that the area was once home to the infamous Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens from which one could take balloon rides, see firework displays, be entertained by acrobats and terpsichorean’s and also meet in the secluded areas for romantic assignations.
Having already gained a reputation for tolerance and diversity it is therefore no wonder that in the early 1990’s Vauxhall then became known as a ‘gay village’ with a number of gay pubs and clubs opening in the area. Now however while it remains as diverse and as tolerant as ever, Vauxhall is seeing an unprecedented regeneration including a new gallery by the artist Damien Hirst and a number of new residential developments, commercial buildings and increased cultural events.
Not least the opening of the American Embassy (and rumour has it the Chinese and Dutch Embassies) will bring with them an increased interest in the area. With many employees keen to live within walking distance of the embassies, developments such as Salamanca Square are likely to benefit from this greatly revived locale.
The flats themselves in the Salamanca Towers are all either one, two or three bedroom apartments, some of which also benefit from being duplexes and all boast balconies and the modern conveniences associated with high end developments.
Ranging from around 550 sq ft to 188 sq ft each apartment is functionally designed to maximise the space. Built-in wardrobes and practical kitchens create streamlined rooms leaving no awkward corners or unusable niche. Designed with modern living in mind it is likely that these apartments would appeal to Londoners for whom a central location is key, or for second home owners seeking a pied-a-terre. Such developments have also proved very popular for foreign purchasers looking to have a stake in the London property market and are regarded as good buy-to-let investments.
While Vauxhall’s residents may now be a somewhat more sedate crowd than the visitors to the original pleasure gardens that not to say there is not a plethora of things to do around Salamanca Square, SW8 and beyond and the area has plenty to offer young professionals, families and tourists.
Salamanca Square & Beyond
Looking for art galleries? Check. Green spaces? Check. Bars and restaurants? Check. Fantastic transport links? Check. Well anyway the list goes on…
Salamanca Square can boast being within walking distance to all of these things and more. With the opening of Damian Hirst’s Gallery just up the road, Tate Britain is immediately over the river, Battersea Park, The Pleasure Gardens and Kennington Park beckon for a leisurely Sunday stroll and the increasing number of bars and restaurants all opening up on the doorstep of Salamanca Square means one would never have to more than a mile in any direction if one was so inclined.
However London of course has so much to offer that as well as having all this on ones doorstep the Zone 1 location means the rest of London is also within easy reach. The fashionable shopping districts of Mayfair, Bond Street and the Kings road are all just a bus or taxi ride away as is the newly developed Nova in Victoria with its mix of designer flagship stores and high street brands.
IF you are seeking out the more unusual or the up and coming, Brixton Village and Peckham are again only a bus or taxi ride away, with uber fashionable pop-up shops, independent boutiques and an arty esoteric crowd.
But one doesn’t even have to stay in London of a weekend as all of London’s main airports and of course the Eurostar are within easy reach making commuting to second homes, taking weekend breaks or living the jet-set lifestyle a realistic and stress free possibility.
Indeed with flights from London airports into Madrid and Valladoid one could take advantage of the excellent transport links to have a flat in Salamanca Square and a holiday apartment in its namesake, Salamanca, Spain, I’m sure it’s what the Duke of Wellington would have wanted!
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