King's Cross, London, England

Living in London's King's Cross

Iyna Bort Caruso

For 150 years, the skyline of London’s King’s Cross district was marked by the sight gasholders, used to provide light and heat. Today, one decommissioned vestige of the past—gasholder #8—has been painstakingly restored and turned into the architectural centerpiece of the aptly named Gasholder Park. It is a symbol of the district’s 21st century reinvention.

Londoners can still recall when this central London district was an industrial wasteland of shuttered warehouses.  But a master plan kickstarted a remarkable transformation. Downtrodden King’s Cross has turned decidedly upmarket.

The multibillion-dollar redevelopment of King’s Cross represents one of the largest construction projects in the capital. The launch of Eurostar rail service, providing service to Paris, Brussels and Amsterdam from King’s Cross St. Pancras International station in 1994 set the area on its trajectory. Today, this fast-growing and buzzy-worthy neighborhood is a tech hub with new offices built to house the likes of Google, Facebook and other high-profile giants. Streetscapes prioritize the well-being of its residents. Some 40 percent of King’s Cross is reserved for parks, gardens, squares and open spaces. The towpath along Regent’s Canal, which bisects King’s Cross, is filled with bicyclists and walkers. Museums and art galleries are thriving. Historic buildings and old warehouses are now entertainment destinations such as Coal Drops Yard and Granary Square.

It helps that King’s Cross is one of the most-connected spots in the city, the place six underground lines converge, providing service to all parts of the city as well as the European continent through Eurostar’s high-speed rail.

While the roots of King’s Cross are in industry, not housing, it has become a model of sustainable urban living. The district offers an eclectic property mix of contemporary apartments in residential towers, restored flats in historic buildings and luxury townhomes.