Apex Airspace, a company which creates flats above London’s rooftops, is set to propel its rooftop housing development plans after receiving a £6.25 million investment from the Business Growth Fund (BGF).
Founded in 2008, Apex buys unused airspace above residential, commercial and public building rooftops and converts the space into homes.
Building on top of existing buildings has received government backing, with Housing Secretary Sajid Javid confirming plans to make it easier to build upwards in cities like London and Manchester.
Apex has agreements with councils, housing associations and supermarkets to build on top of their properties this year.
The business uses modular construction methods to build the properties in an offsite factory before installing them on top of buildings.
Developments have already been completed in St John’s Wood and Camden, and more than 100 homes are currently in progress.
“Following the success of our existing airspace developments, we’re excited to be able to build on our relationships with local authorities and meet the growing demand for affordable housing,” said Apex’s chief executive Arshad Bhatti.
“BGF’s investment will enable us to unlock the value in London’s rooftops and we’re looking forward to consolidating our position as market leader in this sector, and growing our temporary accommodation offering to London’s councils.”
According to City AM, Apex will use BGF’s funding to carry out its plans to develop 300 to 400 properties over the next three years.
It has said many of the properties are expected to be available through the government’s Help to Buy scheme, with property prices starting at around £350,000.
Apex estimates the capital’s rooftop development market could be worth up to £54 billion, with the potential to build 180,000 properties.
The true potential of London’s airspace is currently unclear, as other estimates vary widely.
A recent report by global property consultant Knight Frank suggested 41,000 new dwellings could be built in central London using rooftop development space, without altering the capital’s iconic skyline.
WSP and UCL have previously estimated that 630,000 residential homes could be created above London by building six storeys above existing municipal buildings.
The trend for airspace development is taking off in other cities too, with budget supermarket Aldi recently revealing it is planning to build more than 2,000 rental apartments above its stores in Berlin.
Earlier this year, the airspace above an apartment block in an exclusive neighbourhood in Chelsea went on sale for £560,000, giving home buyers the chance to own a brand new two-bedroom penthouse flat above Drayton Court, a red-brick mansion block near Fulham Road, SW10.
DealMakerz thinks the funding from BGF, an influential investor in UK small and medium-sized businesses, is a sign that airspace development is truly taking off in the capital.
With strong government support, rooftop housing could be a huge opportunity for the property industry over the next few years.