As a relative newcomer to Groveworld, this predates me to some extent! We have developed numerous schemes in Islington and have been a major part of making the area what it is today. The most recent, highest profile of these is probably the Canaletto Tower, an innovative 31 storey residential-led building on the City Road basin.
Given Groveworld’s expertise and experience within London real estate development, we were invited to contribute to the 2017 Parliamentary Review, alongside Secretaries of State, Minsters and MPs. The Review is a guide to best practice across a number of industries and we were delighted to have been chosen, with the aim of raising standards within our sector.
We’re incredibly excited about this project, working alongside OakNorth and ASK Partners. King’s Cross has become a thriving, buzzing community over the past decade. There is a sustainable mix of residential and commercial uses, supported by fantastic transport infrastructure. We will look to deliver a high-quality scheme comprising these uses, including much needed affordable housing, and new public realm to revitalise what is currently an impermeable site.
We feel that flexibility and agility are vital to adapting to the current uncertain climate. By delivering genuinely mixed-use developments, with a focus on creating a sense of place, which are desirable to live and work in, as well as to visit, we believe that the risks are mitigated somewhat. We also consult extensively with local stakeholders to ensure the needs of the community are considered and met. Regardless of the outcome of Brexit, London will remain one of the world’s leading financial centres and we have an incredible pool of talent here, which cannot simply be relocated to another city. Of course, there are certain markets in which we would not be keen to operate, but these were already problematic prior to the referendum and have only been exacerbated by it.
I think we have seen the market mature significantly, presenting new challenges and opportunities. Aside from the looming prospect of Brexit, we have seen a consistent increase in build costs and equity from across the world seeking entry, directly or indirectly, to London real estate development. This increased competition has made land acquisition more difficult, but as a privately owned, opportunistic purchaser, with a substantial pipeline, there has been no pressure to buy sites at unsustainably low margins. The planning process is also longer and more onerous. From a more positive perspective, London has solidified its position as a leading location to live and work in. From the number of multinational businesses with HQs here, to the desirability of living and studying here, this is undoubtedly a world class city.
We have always delivered state-of-the-art, market-leading schemes, but the branding hadn’t been updated since the mid-1990s and we didn’t feel that it was aligned with the product. It’s incredibly important to engage with an array of people and groups, from landowners to end users, and branding is a significant part of this.
From a personal perspective, the acquisition of the Royal National Throat, Nose and Ear Hospital in King’s Cross is the most exciting project I’ve been involved in. The opportunity to breathe new life into a site, in such a great location, that is coming to the end of the life cycle for its existing use, and assessing the numerous options for it, is one almost every developer would want.
Follow your passion. The more you love what you do, the less it will feel like work!
Learn as much as possible. Every bit of experience is invaluable and make sure to understand the markets in which you operate.
App – WhatsApp for keeping in touch with friends and contacts. Spotify is great, too!
Book – London: The Biography
Holiday – I think Paris is a beautiful city, but a recent safari in the Kruger National Park was awe-inspiring.