On Vine Yard in London’s Borough, a 1,517 sq. ft. two-bedroom Manhattan loft-style penthouse with a spectacular double-height vaulted ceiling and mezzanine floor, located directly above the former Stock Aitken Waterman ‘Hit Factory’ music studios, where a galaxy of pop stars recorded world famous No. 1 hits, is for sale via Beauchamp Estates.
Crowning a red-brick former industrial building in Vine Yard, a quiet courtyard location off Sanctuary Street, the second-floor penthouse is located above the famous music recording studios. As a result, the penthouse and studio space below are indelibly tied to the trio’s enduring legacy as the UK’s most successful songwriting and pop production team.
Between 1984 and 1991, Stock, Aitken and Waterman were a global pop powerhouse, defining the sound of a generation by launching the careers of, among many others, Mel & Kim, Steps, Sinitta, Rick Astley, Sonia, Jason Donovan and – most famously – Kylie Minogue. In addition the team also worked with and created hits for Bananarama, Dead or Alive, Debbie Harry and legendary disco diva, Donna Summer, to name but a few.
With their first No 1 hit, Dead Or Alive’s classic You Spin Me Round, in 1985, followed by chart success for Princess and The Three Degrees, the trio moved out of premises at The Marquee in central London and Pete Waterman created his own 24-track music recording studio at Vine Yard.
The building, believed to date from the First World War with walls so thick they could withstand Zeppelin raids (and thus providing the perfect soundproofing), the Vine Yard premises were also home to Waterman’s hugely successful record label, PWL, launched in 1987 with the single I Just Can’t Wait by Mandy Smith. Over the course of the next decade, an endless parade of up and coming as well as established pop stars would cross the Vine Yard building’s threshold. Possible the most iconic day was the recording of Band Aid II ,when the Vine Yard was invaded by paparazzi as all the stars arrived..
With a discreet entrance in a courtyard to the rear of the building, the two-bedroom penthouse is accessed up a flight of stairs, which leads past the original music studio space. From there, via the penthouse front door on the first floor, stairs lead up to a timber floored entrance hall on the building’s second floor, providing access to the penthouse’s spectacular living spaces.
The entrance hall – which doubles as a spacious dining area – opens onto the penthouse’s dramatic double-height, open-plan reception room, which has vaulted beamed ceilings up to 23 ft. high at their apex. At one end the living space is spectacularly lit by huge industrial-style arched warehouse windows. In between the industrial windows are glazed double doors opening onto a Juliette balcony; beside the doors are the warehouse’s original industrial winch and joist machinery, now a feature and architectural reminder of the building’s past.
The glamorous reception space, worthy of entertaining a host of A-listers, has zones for relaxing and entertaining, with a main living area with plenty of room for pieces of statement furniture set around a feature fireplace. The voluminous interior allows for ambitious indoor horticulture – the present owner has a fully grown tree on display.
There are also multiple areas for reading and studying/home working, plus a separate dining area, with dark wood floors and glossy ruby-red walls. The dining area can easily seat 4-10 people for a powerbroking dinner. A separate kitchen, utility room and guest bedroom with ensuite shower room make up this level.
Up on the mezzanine floor is the spectacular principal bedroom suite, which has a vaulted ceiling and is illuminated by a lantern skylight. One side of the bedroom overlooks the huge living space below, with the eaves space cleverly lined with built-in wardrobes. Off the bedroom is a dramatic black marble main bathroom plus dressing area.
The Vine Yard’s new owner will not only be buying a rare Manhatten loft-style penthouse in one of London’s hippest enclaves – the foodie mecca of Borough and neighbouring Bermondsey are consistently voted the capital’s coolest ‘hoods – but also into a legendary chapter in music history.
PWL, often called “The Sound of a Bright Young Britain”, boasts sales of over 500 million units worldwide, with Stock Aitken Waterman – or SAW as they are affectionately known – writing, playing, arranging and producing some of the 1980s most iconic pop hits, many of which have stood the test of time. In 1987, Rick Astley’s debut single Never Gonna Give You Up hit No. 1 in the singles chart, and a year later Australian actress-turned-singer Kylie Minogue rocketed into the global cultural consciousness with I Should Be So Lucky, which stayed in the No. 1 spot for five weeks, quickly followed up with three further hits.
Kylie was soon joined at PWL by Neighbours co-star Jason Donovan, whose duet of Especially for You has sales of over 1million. SAW’s success reached new heights in 1989, with 7 No. 1 singles and a further 15 Top 40 hits. The walls of the Vine Yard studios were soon covered in gold and platinum discs.
Aitken left the partnership in 1991, with Stock and Waterman continuing to work together until 1994.. Eventually Pete moved from Vine Yard to new studios on Borough High Street. 1999, However at global icon Kylie’s behest, the triumvirate reunited to arrange and produce a remix of her hit, Every Day’s Like Christmas. SAW’s phenomenal success story continues today, with tickets now on sale for ‘I Should Be So Lucky’ – The Stock Aitken Waterman Musical, a rambunctious rollercoaster ride through all their hits. Kylie is also currently riding another wave of success as latest hit, Padam Padam, strikes the right note with Gen Z and sees her Las Vegas residency at The Venetian start on 3rd November – running through to May 2024.
Gary Hersham, Founding Director of Beauchamp Estates says: “As well as being in one of London’s hippest locations, moments from Borough Market and with easy access to the City, this stunning Manhattan loft-style penthouse comes with the priceless kudos of being part of British music history, located directly above the legendary music studios of Stock Aitken Waterman. Countless young virtually unknown musicians and singers crossed the Vine Yard threshold, only to emerge fully fledged pop stars having recorded with the trio.”
Jeremy Gee, Managing Director of Beauchamp Estates says: “This striking penthouse with its double-height ceilings and large arched windows is a rare proposition. With its vast vaulted-ceilinged reception and entertaining area, overlooked by a mezzanine bedroom, it would suit a buyer in search of a truly interesting home, with all the hallmarks of edgy, industrial design, in the beating heart of London’s foodie scene.”
Vine Yard is extremely well connected, a short walk from a selection of Underground stations including Borough 0.1m (Northern), London Bridge 0.4m (Jubilee, Northern, plus mainline rail services) and Southwark 0.6m (Jubilee). Mainline rail services are also available from Waterloo, just 1m away.
The penthouse at Vine Yard is available to buy for £1,350,000. For further information or to arrange a viewing