English National Ballet quitting Royal Borough to move to East End’s new London City Island

Computer impression of London City Island at Bow Creek

Computer impression of London City Island at Bow Creek - Credit: Bea Bishop

The country’s top professional ballet company is making a landmark move to London’s East End from the Royal Borough on the other side of town.

City Island on a loop in the Lea River [photo: David Benett/Getty Images for Ballymore]

City Island on a loop in the Lea River [photo: David Benett/Getty Images for Ballymore] - Credit: Getty Images for Ballymore

English National Ballet has reached agreement with Ballymore developers to move into its 12-acre ‘mini Manhattan’ London City Island project, on the banks of the Lea River, which is now starting its second phase.

The move from their current space in Kensington takes ballet close to the public, with its star performers taking up space designed to let passers-by view rehersals through floor-to-ceiling windows.

“We’re honoured that the English National Ballet has decided to make its new permanent home at London City Island,” Ballymore Group chairman Sean Mulryan said. “We’re confident this partnership will help us to create a special sense of ‘place’, a vibrant new neighbourhood with innovation at its heart.”

The deal also provides a new ballet school which will increase student places and make use of outside public spaces.

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The agreement emerged with the launch of the second phase of the development, with the advance sale of 417 new apartments in two blocks going on the market.

The apartments are designed with a warehouse aesthetic, open plan living and loft-style features drawn from the history of the Leamouth area along Bow Creek.

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London City Island is designed by Glenn Howells architects who draw inspiration from world cities such as Chicago, Tokyo—and, of course, New York’s Manhattan Island.

It includes independent artisan restaurants, shops, and al fresco spaces for public art, design installations and ad-hoc creative performances.

Bright seafaring-inspired hues are being used with a single colour in glossy brickwork chosen for each of the tall towers, in keeping with the maritime location on a loop in the River Lea close to where it joins the Thames.

A 260ft-long iconic red footbridge links the new neighbourhood across the Lea to Canning Town Underground station to the east, while Canary Wharf is just four minutes to the west.

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