Croydon’s surging popularity as a place to live and do business was spotlighted at the London Real Estate Forum.
Richard Plant, chairman of Develop Croydon, told delegates: “Six years ago, Croydon was a place with not a lot going on. We had offices with a vacancy rate of about 1.2m sq ft.
“Develop Croydon brought all the interested parties together. It was the strength of these parties that brought all this together [Croydon’s regeneration]. Six years on, the vacancy rate is 3,000 sq ft.
“Croydon has a real buzz about it, it has become cool with Boxpark. The Westfield-Hammerson scheme is really uplifting and important.”
Craig Marks, chief executive of Menta, which is developing more than 300 homes next to East Croydon station in a joint venture with Redrow, added: “The Develop Croydon collaboration exercise is enabling Croydon to go from a RIP place to a VIP place.”
He explained that residential rents are around £35 per sq ft and five years ago, were in “the teens”. Office rents are now around £600 per sq ft whereas they were £400 per sq ft five years ago.
Boxpark, Westfield and large-scale residential development were “changing perception”, he said.