October 16, 2006 From any tall building in almost any major city, dozens, possibly hundreds of roofs can be seen which carry free space which is not being employed the owner’s benefit. The free space on top of buildings has never been ascribed much value, and rarely gets any consideration on a balance sheet, but offers a major opportunity because in some locations, it represents very valuable virgin real estate indeed. Last week we wrote about the pre-fabricated Loftcube which can be made-to-order and helicoptered into position, commisiioned and fully functional in 24 hours, with prices starting at US$138,000. The Loftcube is a modern construction and doesn’t suite everybody, as in most such instances, additional construction must be in sympathy with existing, important buildings. St. John's Wood Court is a century-old double winged mansion block directly opposite the W. C. Grace Gates, the main entrance to Lords Cricket Ground, the home of the sport of cricket. One of several major Central London apartment projects by specialist rooftop developer First Penthouse, the project added seven ultra-exclusive apartments to the building. First Penthouse uses a modular construction system not dissimilar to that used in custom automobile construction – all components are handcrafted, assembled and tested in a controlled factory environment. By finishing the apartments off-site, then loading them into position with cranes, one-day installation is also possible. Instant-use residential and commercial property is hence viable, without noise, dust and disruption and with the units constructed in the style and values of the original, traditionally-constructed buildings. First Penthouse is actively seeking new developments and can prepare portfolio surveys for property owners which will identify short, medium and long term opportunities.
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