THE FLATS-RETAIL-OFFICES development was beset with problems. Among them were walls that started to crack, mis-fitting windows, bits that blew away when the wind got strong and the pedestrian-bothering blocking of a busy pavement.
Even the financing was unorthodox: by crowd-funding, probably a first in the property world, which prefers conventional loans.
The latest misfortunate to hit this Hackney scheme is a lift shaft. The builders discovered when they set about installing the elevator that it was too big for the basement. Whoops!
Cue cursing, then frantic chipping and drilling by a specialist urgently hired to widen the shaft.
And what a noise! Noise was always going to be a problem for anyone moving into one of the flats: the E8 1NH location, corner of the cut-through street Cecilia Road and the busy Dalston Lane, is often loud with traffic jams and horn-hooting drivers.
As for the basement, it was meant to be ready months ago, for the much-needed return of the local youth club, St Matthias.
Dalston, once the heart of the hipster universe (you remember hipsters, don’t you?), is known for its many property pluses, among them great public transport and other benefits that make 1 Cecilia Road look like a prestige development. Even the protruding pointy bricks — sorry, maison briques (sic), “brick house” in sort-of French — appeal to some observers. Yet buyers should notch up their bravery meter.
It can be turned to their advantage. The project’s history means that they can push for sizeable discounts on the flats, advertised at between £500,000 for a one-bedder and £800,000 for a three-bedder. The ground floor with its retail/office spaces is on sale for just over a million.
Some of the crowdfunders individually invested hundreds of thousands of pounds. They will be ruefully recalling the promoter’s claims that the scheme could return an 85% profit.
Certainly rueful are the youth club’s teenagers, unable to enter the below-ground venue promised in 2017. Many of them are now adults, wandering around Hackney at a loose end.
Strenuous efforts to get a comment from the developer, East Eight with London Property, failed.
David Altheer 061221
* Backstory: Squatters evicted from Dalston club; Developer submits plans; Big property deal in Dalston; Flats future for controversial Dalston club; Hackney developer offers chance of an 85% profit; What the Dalston club taught me
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