Contract paves way for start of Knightsbridge scheme (iStock)

Construction work is set to start on a £141 million mixed-use scheme in Knightsbridge after Skanska signed a deal to be the main contractor. 

Major work will now commence on the K1 Knightsbridge development, which Saudi developer Olayan Group is creating through the revamp of a site on the corner of Brompton Road and Sloane Street, between Harrods and Harvey Nichols. 

The 31,600 sq m project is being developed behind the facade of the old building that stood on the site. While the interior has been demolished, the exterior has been retained to maintain its architectural style and heritage. Olayan bought the property for £600 million in 2010.

Inside the new development will be 35 apartments, 6,000 sq m of office space, 8,000 sq m of luxury retail outlets and a rooftop restaurant. 

A further development will be the creation of a new entrance to the adjacent Knightsbridge Underground Station, featuring step-free access. Passengers with restricted mobility will not be the only ones happy with new developments at the site, as the new tunnel will also include an air cooling system to reduce the stifling heat many Tube users endure in the summer. 

The initial construction work started last month and Skanska will now work to deliver the finished project by the scheduled completion date in late 2020.

Olayan's scheme is a prime example of a property investor seeking to target an established, affluent area of central London and replace the existing offering with something better.

Alternative investments in property around the capital include major developments in emerging areas, such as the British Land scheme proposed for the Canada Water and Surrey Quays area. 

That project, for which British Land has just submitted a planning application to Southwark Council, will see 650 homes being built as part of the first phase of a mixed-use project that is designed to eventually cover 53 acres. This will effectively create a town centre in the regenerated canalside area. 

A common denominator between these two very different London property investments is good public transport links. Just as the Knightsbridge scheme is based by a Tube station, Canada Water has its own Underground stop that interchanges with the London Overground.