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London Mayor Approves Berkeley Plan to Build Almost 1,000 Homes

London Mayor Boris Johnson today approved a request by Berkeley Group Holdings Plc to build almost 1,000 homes close to the city’s main financial district, overturning a decision by local planning officials.

The City Forum development in the borough of Islington comprises two towers with 995 residential properties, a 190-room hotel, offices, retail space and a child day-care center, according to a statement from the mayor’s office. Thirty percent of the homes will be affordable.

A surge of new-home purchases by foreign investors has exacerbated a housing shortage in London, prompting Johnson to approve residential projects even when faced with local opposition. Hutchison Whampoa Ltd., controlled by Asia’s richest man Li Ka-shing, yesterday got approval from the mayor to build as many as 3,500 homes less than 2 miles from the Canary Wharf financial district. The City of London is the main business district.

“London is enjoying an unprecedented population boom,” Johnson said in the statement. “Building new homes and creating more jobs is absolutely crucial so that we can ensure this growth is sustainable.”

One of the towers that’s planned for the site at 250 City Road will have 42 stories, while the other will have 36.

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