This used to be the Crossways Estate, a council estate with a grim reputation, and indeed a Grime reputation. It's where Dizzee Rascal grew up, the roof taken over by pirate radio stations and with a fair amount of crime and ill-will in the stairwells below. Overcrowded, unloved and a bit too 'real', the site became a prime target for major redevelopment.
The scrappy tarmac football pitches around the towers were soon swept away, and streets of new low-rise houses and flats built in their place. By 2011 this had become the Bow Cross estate, a mix of council-let and affordable housing, with two of the towers utterly refurbished and reclad in a more appealing pastel palette. Prices for a one-bedroom flat started at £160,000, a number now so small as to appear quaintly unattainable by 2014 standards. Such is the nature of the housing vortex that's currently swallowing London, and the Olympic fringes in particular.
Early next year the third tower block will finally be ready for tenants, that is once the kitchens have been replaced, the exterior's been fully covered and the scaffolding's come down. What used to be dour unwanted Mallard Point is being reborn as Bellevue Bow, an aspirational lifestyle destination for incoming professionals, and nowhere that former residents could possibly afford. A one bedroom flat now costs £299,000, or rather did because all the cheap options were snapped up when the project launched a couple of weeks back, and the cheapest remaining two-bed is going for £428,000.
That's not Bow, that's East Londonsville, a new amorphous residential zone whose residents are lured in not by what's on the doorstep but by how easy it is to get to somewhere more interesting. For shops, get on the train. For culture, get on the train. For coffee and chi-chi chic, there's a bus to somewhere more aspirational if you can be bothered to take it, but in reality you'll probably end up nipping down to the Tesco Express for a pizza and some lagers. As a post-Olympic price-wave sweeps out across the East End, we risk no longer living in communities but in residential bubbles whose residents spend all their cultural time elsewhere.
Anyway, if you're moving in, do enjoy the expensive views from your ex council flat, I'm sure they'll be excellent.