A Look at Coal Drops Yard – Property Analysis
Kacper Bałdyga

This month, just before Insurtech Insights London, we’re looking at one of the city’s many architectural gems. With a rich historical tapestry and striking modern design – the Coal Drops Yard, London. Located at the center of the King’s Cross Central site, this building offers a story of transformation that resonates with the core values and tenets of Tensorflight – embracing change, combining the old with the new, and sculpting innovative solutions.

A step back in time

Constructed in 1850, the Coal Drops Yard initially served as a coal store, the lifeblood of London’s burgeoning economy. This purpose resulted in a prominent architectural style—cast iron structures with two-story brickwork. However, as the centuries passed, this industrial structure adapted to changing uses—switching from housing light industries and storage to becoming a vibrant hub of nightclubs, before eventually falling into disuse by the late 1990s.

The site in 2013. Chris Allen / Former coal drops – King’s Cross

A new chapter

In 2014 Argent Group, the overall developer for the King’s Cross Central site, proposed a refreshing new purpose for Coal Drops Yard and embarked on a transformation journey. They commissioned the acclaimed Thomas Heatherwick to lead the redevelopment and architect Arup—who masterfully infused the old with the new, resulting in a retail park that harmoniously marries historic architecture with modern design.

Construction began in February 2016, and the redesigned building was inaugurated in October 2018. The remodeling venture was a substantial investment, with costs reaching £100 million.

Robert Lamb / View of the Coal Drop Yard building site from the path leading from the Regent’s Canal into Granary Square

The Transformation Unveiled

Now, the Coal Drops Yard features a footprint area of 55336 square feet with a living, a usable area of 99997 square feet and a total usable space (including basement) amounting to a massive 145313 square feet. This capacious area has been carefully designed to adapt to a plethora of retail and commercial activities.

The refurbished building retained its original two-story layout, adding an exceptional glazed elevator space that provides an unanticipated elevated viewpoint over London. Underneath, a double-height, sheltered space functions as the development’s heart, where concerts and performances liven up the atmosphere.

The construction boasts a robust combination of masonry and steel. A noteworthy addition during the redesign is the wide, curved roof extension. Supported by a 52-column steel structure skillfully threaded within the 19th-century masonry, the extension adds a modern flair without compromising the site’s historical ambiance.

The brick facade nods to the building’s industrial past, and keen observers will note continuity on the rooftop too. The extended gabled roofs feature blue-grey slate from the same Welsh quarry that supplied the original Victorian structures, repeating the motif of historic continuity.

ClemRutter, CC BY-SA 4.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Unmatched Accuracy with Tensorflight

The Coal Drops Yard exemplifies how advanced technology can streamline the fusion of old and new. In the same vein, Tensorflight brings revolutionizing technology to property insurance.

Leveraging AI and computer vision, Tensorflight delivers whole building structure analyses and offers property data on over 40 unique data points—like building footprints, construction materials, roof geometry, and more. These capabilities, infusing historic property data with state-of-the-art AI interpretations, allow underwriters to arrive at well-informed decisions quickly.

What makes Tensorflight an invaluable tool is its ability to embed into underwriting platforms seamlessly and provide global coverage – even for distinctive buildings like the Coal Drops Yard.

For insurers and underwriters who value accuracy, efficiency, and interoperability, Tensorflight serves as an indispensable partner in bringing the precision of innovative technology into the evolving fabric of the global property

The property features were extracted by Tensorflight. Contact us at contact@tensorflight.com to explore more about Tensorflight’s solution and how it can transform your property insurance business

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