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Canary Wharf Group in £90m derelict land deal

Company hopes to build offices for 20,000 workers and 1,600 homes by 2018, just as the London Crossrail opens

The company behind Canary Wharf in London has paid £90.4m for derelict land next to the financial district.

Canary Wharf Group (CGW) plans to provide office space for 20,000 workers and build 1,600 homes, including six residential towers and three office blocks, as well as an open-air market, hotel and health centre.

Sir George Iacobescu, whom Margaret Thatcher tasked with creating Canary Wharf 25 years ago and now serves as chairman and chief executive of CGW, said the purchase was an important step in the evolution of Canary Wharf from a business district into a real community.

The company, which was granted outline planning permission in 2009, plans to build six residential towers providing 1,600 homes, an open air market, hotel, health centre and three office towers. CGW hopes the first Wood Wharf residents will be in place by 2018 when the Crossrail, the forthcoming east-west London rail route, is due to connect to Canary Wharf.

“Canary Wharf is a purely commercial development so it’s quite corporate,” a CGW spokesman said. “This [Wood Wharf] is going to have a completely different feel to it.”

However, the Richard Rogers-designed development to the east of Canary Wharf, is likely to be plagued by the same fierce winds that swirl the existing towers. “You do get a good burst of fresh air,” he said. “But Canary Wharf is one of the few places where you can get from the underground to your desk without having to go outside.”

Construction work on commercial buildings will only begin after long-term tenants have been secured to avoid them being left empty. The company said it was very confident it would be able to attract tenants despite a wave of skyscrapers, including the Shard at London Bridge and the “walkie-talkie” on Fenchurch Street, currently rising up in the London skyline. © 2012 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds