Want to talk about special? Try this for size: a very rare freehold, mixed-use investment building in Neal’s Yard – the very heart of Seven Dials – which has come to the market for the first time in over thirty years.
The opportunity to acquire such a significant slice of history in London’s Covent Garden really is a huge deal.
Neal’s Yard is a beautiful, colourful oasis that has, quite rightly, graced thousands of Instagram feeds. It is truly legendary, in both a property and entrepreneurial sense.
It was originally nothing more than a yard where the porters from Covent Garden market – which originally sold fruit and veg. – stored their unsold produce and barrows. By the mid seventies however, with the market now moved to Vauxhall, it was a rat invested hole that wasn’t even listed in the AtoZ.
That was when visionary entrepreneur and radical thinker Nicolas Saunders found it and saw its potential. His first venture was to set up the Whole Food Warehouse, which was a great success. It not only spearheaded the entire whole foods movement, it allowed him to develop other businesses in and around the Yard – many of which, like Neal’s Yard Remedies, Neal’s Yard Dairy and Monmouth Coffee are still trading.
For the last twenty years, Nicholas’ wife Anya has had the honour of looking after this extraordinary freehold. It’s a combination of residential and commercial so let’s explore the whole building, there’s around 6,500 square feet to find out about. Essentially, this is an income-producing investment that just happens to have an amazing apartment with its own roof garden on the top of it.
The secure street entrance is flanked by two retail spaces, both currently let, while another door just to the left accesses the huge basement area that’s fully operational as an event space for hire. It’s a particular favourite with mindfulness and yoga classes as well as for more conventional corporate meetings.
Up to the first floor landing; another pre-let commercial unit sits to the right, while to the left is a residential apartment that’s used by the building’s owner for her guests. It’s a self contained space that would work well on Airbnb. Behind this lies a utility room.
Back in the communal stairwell, head up another half landing past two staff WC’s and up to the top floor where to the left is another pre-let commercial space which faces the front door for the residential apartment at the top. This is where things get even more interesting.
It’s hard to pin down any one particular style here but there’s clear evidence of Moroccan and Indian influences which stem from the Saunders’ extensive travels. The lower floor has two rooms, one an office the other a therapist’s studio – both could easily be bedrooms.
An internal staircase leads on one side to a large reception room. The cloud finished paintwork accentuates the light that pours in from the huge glass widows and sliding doors that fill one side of room, which also happens to be the side overlooking the courtyard below. Opposite that is the impressive open plan kitchen and dining room.
Looking up you see that he huge ceiling height has allowed for the dramatic addition of The Pod and The Shell. Both conceived and built by Nicholas, The Pod serves as sleeping area, while The Shell is a conversation space whose spiral shape was calculated using the Fibonacci Sequence so, like the Whispering Gallery at St Paul’s, is a true wonder of acoustics. An entire bank of windows and glazed doors open out to something of a surprise: a fully turfed roof garden (no fake astro here), bordered by trees and bushes with killer views of the Yard and the surrounding London skyline.
Perched at the very top of the building is its last surprise: a greenhouse! Well, who wouldn’t want to be potting seedlings in Spring with the newly developed Centre Point building as your backdrop?
When it comes to outside activities, living in the heart of one of the world’s greatest cities does mean you’re rather spoilt for choice. Everything, and we really mean everything, that makes this colourful quarter so entertaining is just outside your front door. Coffee, food, drinks, clubs, retail and tourist destinations are like nothing else. There will never be a dull moment and, given the proximity to the tube and bus network, navigation around the entire capital couldn’t be easier.
So there you have it; central London living in a unique roof-top penthouse complete with its own rental income. A full rental schedule is available on request.