Chinese developer ABP has promised to invest £1.7 billion in an eight-year project to regenerate the Royal Albert Dock area of East London. The £300 million first stage is due for completion within 18 months.

Supported by investment partners CITIC and Charoen Popkhand, ABP aims to turn a currently unused site adjacent to the University of East London’s Docklands campus, into London’s ‘third financial centre’ (following on from Canary Wharf, built in the late 1980s, and the long-established City of London).

On its website ABP says it has “national and global backing to create a new business district with supporting residential, retail and leisure, the likes of which have never been seen before in the UK.”

Speaking at the East London China Investment Summit, ABP chair Xu Weiping declared: “These major investments are a vote of confidence to the UK and London market following the Brexit vote.” He went on to say that, “East London is fast becoming one of the capital’s most exciting places to do business and we are pleased that other Asian companies have seen the potential and are also now investing in the area.”

Sir Robin Wales, Mayor of Newham, stressed that the ABP-funded project is “designed as a comprehensive business-led, mixed-use development, including up to 845 new homes. It is expected to create 20,000 full-time jobs.”

After talks with China’s Vice-Premier Ma Kai, UK prime minister Theresa May welcomed investment from Chinese developers, saying: “As we take the next step in this golden era of relations between the UK and China, I’m excited about the opportunity for expanding trade and investment between our two countries.”

Deals with Chinese-backed investors show no signs of slowing, despite initial fears over Brexit. Developers Greenland Group recently agreed to go-ahead with the ‘Spire’ building in West India Quay, costing £800 million and due to be completed in 2020. Investment group Asian Growth Properties Ltd has purchased property and office blocks across London to the total value of £154 million.

The ABP development site is close to London City Airport and only a few minutes away from Custom House Crossrail station, due to open in December 2018.

A full overview of the plans can be viewed on the ABP website.

Image by Jessica Paterson, available for use under Creative Commons license.