‘Historical moment’ as Chinese investors sign deal to make Newham a financial centre
PUBLISHED: 13:45 10 November 2016 | UPDATED: 16:34 10 November 2016
Chinese investors have officially signed a £1.7billion deal to overhaul the Royal Albert Dock and create the capital’s “third major financial centre” in Newham.
With the east being hailed as “the London of the future”, representatives from Newham Council, Chinese developers ABP, City Hall and five banks were present as the regeneration project was agreed in Langham Hotel in Marylebone today.
More than 50 investors from China are in London as part of Vice Premier Ma Kai’s visit, with the signing of the deal – which secures the first £300m of the funding for the business district – highlighted as a gesture of confidence in the post-Brexit UK.
Mayor of Newham Sir Robin Wales said the eight-year project, on which construction begins early next year, is expected to bring 20,000 jobs and 845 homes.
He said: “We are delighted these plans to return the Royal Albert to the heart of London’s economic life are taking a major step forward in the delivery of the council’s regeneration program.”
Branding the agreement a “historical moment”, ABP chairman Xu Weiping said it was “extremely important” for the future of east London.
“We talk about there being a ‘golden era’ between our countries,” he said. “This demonstrates it.
“It is changing a piece of wasted land into the future of the third financial centre.”
Adding that in the past his company had worked on developing countries like Angola and that the Newham investment was the first in a developed country, he said: “This is only the first step in a long march – we have only gone 0.1km so far.”
The signing ceremony – which has been about eight years in the making – was also watched by Sir Edward Lister, senior adviser at the Department for International Trade.
Praising the Royal Albert Dock as a “new piece of London”, he said: “The city is moving east – and the Dock is very much the centre of that movement.
“It’s a real hub – very close to Canary Wharf, and you can wave at the planes in City Airport.”
He added that while London’s growing population – forecast to rise from 8.7 million to 10 within 15 years – was “not quite Chinese”, it still needed to be housed.
“This is a great place,” he said of Newham. “It has great connectivity and is a great opportunity for housing.
“It’s where the homes for the young professionals and people your business needs will be built,” he told the attendees.
James Murray, deputy mayor for housing and redevelopment at City Hall, said the project was an example of the world having “its eyes on London” – despite Brexit.
“What used to be the heart of activity under a different economic past can now serve as the canvas on which we paint the London of the future,” he said.
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