Dexters finds the ingenuity of the London neighbours in this Homes and Property feature seriously impressive. The owners of eight Hampstead flats in the same building collectively purchased the freehold, sold the rooftop for development and will now use the proceeds for much needed building repairs.
In a city, identifying existing buildings for the creation of fresh living space is no mean feat. So this flat-roofed low-rise turns out to be a fine development opportunity promising a distinctive finish.
While Jovan Mihailovic and his neighbours’ solution to funding refurbishment costs is savvy, it also speaks of a community endeavour and neighbourhood pride that central London property owners can be accused of lacking. Another reason we find it heartening to read stories like this.
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Until recently, retired banker Jovan Mihailovic lived in what he admits was probably the shabbiest block of flats in Abbey Road, West Hampstead. In a conservation area full of fine Victorian villas with potted bay trees and Farrow & Ball front doors, the Sixties block with rotting windows and peeling render, stuck out like a sore thumb. Inside things were little better. The lift had long ago given up the ghost and the communal areas badly needed rewiring. The cost of the work would come to about £400,000 — well beyond the pockets of the Mihailovics and their seven neighbours. But as the state of the place became desperate, Jovan came up with a possible solution that had been right above his head all along: build a penthouse on the roof and sell it to fund the repairs.