The Money List 2008
By Matt Ross Friday, 20 June 2008
As belts tighten, it becomes still more vital to choose the right - and richest - developer. These are the regeneration sector's biggest.
Markets may be tightening, with demand uncertain and banks looking for the safest bets, but the long-term work of regeneration will continue. While developers may be slowing down their work and shelving some nascent plans, our roundtable discussion (see p16) shows that regeneration's biggest investors will continue to seek out good sites and build appropriate schemes; all is not lost. This ranked list profiles the UK's 30 biggest regeneration developers, which together have committed some £19 billion to the schemes profiled in our Top 100 Regeneration Projects feature (R&R, 7 March, p18). We hope that these profiles, presented with figures for developers' investment commitments and contact details, will help you identify and approach the right investors.
As last year, the listing comprises those developers investing in our Top 100: we have ranked companies in order of their funding commitments, but also provide a figure for the total value of all the Top 100 schemes in which they are involved (for more details, see the methodology box on p23).
Caution is required when comparing developers' rankings with those of last year: in its second year, our listing is much more comprehensive than its predecessor, and many place changes may simply reflect improved data. However, a few new entries do tell us something about the changing regeneration sector.
Berkeley failed to make our listing last year because none of its projects involved public funding. But since then its development of former council estates in London means that it has eligible schemes on its books; the growth of public-private partnerships in our listing is likely to be a sign of things to come.
Second, we no longer have entries for Taylor Woodrow and George Wimpey, which have merged to become Taylor Wimpey. Barratt remains in the listing, albeit with a bad case of indigestion from a major takeover. Last year was characterised by mergers among the big housebuilders. This year, they are concentrating on retrenchment.
Finally, affordable housing firm First Base ranks highly thanks to its involvement in two major public-sector-driven schemes in London: Elephant & Castle and Stratford City. Would-be home owners may now be less concerned about house prices than the availability of mortgages, but affordability will remain a big issue. In future, this list may contain more specialists in intermediate and social housing.
As for the rest - well, the profiles tell their own story. Some developers are shelving schemes, some are slowing down their activity, and some may be in trouble. But despite all the dire warnings about declining planning applications and housing starts, there is an abundance of activity in the sector. Newspaper journalists know that exclamatory headlines about house prices guarantee an excitable readership. Yet on the ground, the regeneration developers listed here are still seeking opportunities and building projects, while they wait for the banks to loosen up and lend would-be tenants and buyers the cash they need to get this vast, virtuous circle moving again.
Click here to read R&R's Money List 2008 methodology
The Money List 2008
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4. Argent Group
7. Forth Ports
9. Lend Lease
10. Peel Group
12. First Base
13. Crest Nicholson
14. Land Securities
18. Urban Splash
22. Terrace Hill
23. City Lofts
26. CTP St James
30. Ing Real Estate
For the second year running, Westfield tops our list of the UK's biggest regeneration developers. This is perhaps unsurprising: the firm is the world's largest listed retail property group, operating 118 shopping centres with a total value of more than £30 billion in the UK, US, Australia and New Zealand. Founded by Frank Lowy in Australia in the 1960s, Westfield has the capacity to handle all the design, development, construction and operation of its shopping centres, and a reputation for ruthless efficiency in delivering its projects.
Despite its number one ranking among developers, the value of ongoing Westfield schemes in our Top 100 Regeneration Projects listing has declined since last year. This is largely because the 100,000 sq-metre Westfield Derby development, its first major project in the UK, was completed in October 2007. The mall, which cost £340 million to build, has brought a huge rise in visitors to Derby, although some businesses in the historic retailing district claim to have suffered.
In London, the company is undertaking two of the UK's biggest retail-led regeneration schemes. It is preparing the site for the £2 billion Stratford City development (visualised above), next to the Olympic Park by the channel tunnel rail link station, while the £1.6 billion Westfield London scheme in White City is under construction and scheduled to open in time for Christmas 2008. Westfield is also developing big shopping centre projects in Bradford, Dudley, Nottingham, Guildford and Belfast.
Under the leadership of its charismatic and plain-speaking founder Tony Pidgley, housebuilder Berkeley Homes has moved away from its traditional focus on detached suburban homes to become one of the UK's leading builders of urban, brownfield, high-density apartment blocks.
The company, which concentrates on London and South-East England, is part of publicly quoted Berkeley Group Holdings and has an annual turnover of more than £500 million. It operates through eight autonomous companies, each covering a different geographical area. In April, Berkeley was handed the Queens Award for Enterprise in recognition of its work in sustainable development: well ahead of a 2010 deadline, the company has already begun building all its properties to level three of the six-stage national green housebuilding standard the code for sustainable homes.
The group has recently increased the number of homes at its £1 billion Royal Arsenal development in Woolwich, south-east London, in a bid to raise funds for the creation of a new Crossrail station. During the summer, it is due to begin a further £1 billion project to regenerate the deprived Woodberry Down housing estate in the east London borough of Hackney, and the company has been selected to take forward equally ambitious plans to redevelop the Kidbrooke estate in Greenwich.
Perhaps thanks to its strong portfolio in high-demand areas of the South-East, Berkeley's share price has not suffered as much during the credit crunch as those of other housebuilders. In March, the firm predicted that its results would meet market expectations, despite a 20 per cent fall in sales reservations in the final four months of 2007/08.
Publicly quoted property investment and development company Hammerson turned into a tax-efficient real estate investment trust in January 2007. By then, takeover rumours had been circulating for many months, but the downturn in the commercial property market appears to have put paid to any acquisition attempts at present.
Hammerson owns around 120,000sq metres of retail space and 280,000sq metres of offices in the UK and France, valued at £7.3 billion in total. It also has a healthy portfolio of major ongoing developments, including Leeds' £700 million Eastgate Quarters, Sheffield's £600 million Sevenstone, and the £250 million Union Square project in Aberdeen. The £350 million Highcross retail scheme in Leicester and the £500 million Cabot Circus shopping development in Bristol are both scheduled to open in September.
Biggest of all its projects is the £4 billion mixed-use redevelopment of the area around the Brent Cross shopping centre in Cricklewood, north London, for which Hammerson submitted a planning application in March. The company unveiled a strong set of results in February, with pre-tax profits up 24 per cent to £117 million.
A new entrant in our listing, Argent didn't make it last year because its monster project - the wholesale regeneration of the King's Cross area of London - was tied up in legal wranglings instigated by local opponents. With that obstacle overcome, the developer is now moving ahead with the £3.35 billion mixed-use scheme. The project mainly comprises homes and offices alongside the Eurostar terminus and the partial reconstruction of the UK's biggest public transport hub.
Founded in 1981 and led by "bicycling builder" Roger Madelin, Argent is well known as the developer behind Birmingham's Brindleyplace: a 149,000 sq-metre office-oriented scheme that created new public spaces and drew businesses into a formerly tatty canalside area on the edge of the city centre. A private company owned since 1997 by BT's pension scheme, the developer concentrates on commercial property supported by leisure, retail and public spaces. Its schemes are bolstered by pre-lets - including HQs for retailer Sainsbury's and the Guardian Media Group, in the case of King's Cross - but Argent is proud of its ability to read the market and works primarily as a speculative developer.
The merger between housebuilders Taylor Woodrow and George Wimpey, which featured in 17th and 24th places respectively in our 2007 Money List, has propelled Taylor Wimpey into this year's top ten. However, since the £5 billion deal was completed last summer to create the UK's second biggest housebuilder, the firm has endured a tough time as the credit squeeze has battered confidence in the housing market.
Taylor Wimpey completed almost 15,000 new houses in the UK in 2007, mainly through its two leading brands George Wimpey and Bryant Homes. It also built more than 5,000 houses in the US, and about 200 in Spain and Gibraltar. However, it has cut back on land acquisitions and announced in May that 600 UK staff - around 30 per cent of its office-based workforce - would be laid off and a third of its 39 local offices closed.
Nonetheless, the company still has no less than 11 schemes in the Top 100 Regeneration Projects. These include high-profile developments such as Greenwich Millennium Village, mixed-use project The Bridge at Dartford and a role in the £4.5 billion Leith Docks and Western Harbour development in Edinburgh.
Since its creation in 1986, St Modwen has carved out a reputation as one of the UK's leading developers of regeneration schemes. Based in Birmingham and led by chairman Anthony Glossop and chief executive Bill Oliver, the company also operates out of seven regional offices.
St Modwen specialises in mixed-use developments in town centres and the re-use of brownfield land, particularly sites vacated by declining industries. The firm's strategy is based around acquiring a portfolio of future development land, which currently comprises around 2,000ha.
Last spring, the developer received full planning permission for the £1 billion mixed-use redevelopment of the former Corus steelworks at Llanwern, near Newport in south Wales. In May, it submitted a planning application for one of its highest-profile schemes, the redevelopment of the 190ha former MG Rover site at Longbridge in Birmingham.
Despite the downturn in the commercial property market, the publicly listed property company has seen a continued increase in its quoted value, outperforming much of the sector. Glossop stated in February that the company would continue an aggressive strategy of land acquisition to take advantage of the lower prices available as a result of tough market conditions.
7. Forth Ports
Investment commitments: £1,000m
Top 100 schemes value: £6,510m
Tel: Marketing and business development director Doug McKenzie, 0131 555
Forth Ports runs shipping ports at Tilbury in Essex and Dundee, but - as the name suggests - most of its operations lie on the Firth of Forth. There it operates five ports: Leith, Methil, Burntisland, Rosyth and Grangemouth, Scotland's largest container port. The company also controls navigation on the Firth as well as managing its own towage fleet.
When it was privatised and joined the London Stock Exchange in 1992, the firm decided that much of its land was surplus to the ports business. Forth Ports then began to draw up plans for the regeneration of Leith Docks and Western Harbour, the second-biggest project in our Top 100 Regeneration Projects, as well as for nearby Granton Waterfront. Altogether, the developments cover five miles of Edinburgh's shoreline, where they are due to provide 6,400 flats, a cruise liner terminal, a museum, schools and a tramway. Were we to combine the schemes - which are being taken forward under separate management and planning structures - they would represent the biggest single regeneration investment in the UK.
Grosvenor's main asset is what it refers to simply as "the London Estate": 120ha in Mayfair and Belgravia, including retail, residential and office space, which the Grosvenor family has owned for the past 330 years. From this rock-solid base it leapt into one of the country's most ambitious regeneration projects, the £920 million Liverpool One scheme. The first phase of the 17ha, 36-building shopping quarter opened this month (the rest is due to open in September), with retail space operated by brands including Debenhams, John Lewis, Zara and Monsoon. The completion of the scheme will also reopen Paradise Street and surrounding roads to pedestrians after several years of disruption.
With pre-tax profits last year of £524 million and assets worth £12.9 billion, the firm has been able to pay for the entire project itself, taking a 250-year lease on council land. The developer's commitment to Liverpool One now continues with work on the Cesar Pelli-designed apartment block One Park West and redevelopment of Chavasse Park.
Grosvenor is also involved in early-stage retail-led projects, including Crawley's Town Centre North, a £558 million scheme yet to secure planning permission. In Preston, Grosvenor and the city council have signed a development agreement for the £600 million, 86-shop Tithebarn scheme. John Lewis is to take the biggest store space in both of these shopping centres.
For some reason, several Australian developers have become vast international concerns - and Lend Lease is one such operation. A developer of retail-led, mixed-use schemes within urban areas, its name has become a familiar one on billboards around the UK.
Currently working on the £4 billion Greenwich Peninsula scheme in a joint venture with Quintain, Lend Lease is also set to redevelop the crumbling shopping centre and high-rise council flats at Elephant & Castle. In London's largest example of the wholesale redevelopment of 1960s council estates, the area is to be rebuilt as a mixed-tenure community set around a new retail area, providing Southwark with a proper town centre for the first time since bomb-damaged terraces were cleared after the war.
The project is currently held up as Lend Lease negotiates with the shopping centre's owner St Modwen - which had hoped to redevelop the area itself - but a resolution is anticipated by the autumn. Lend Lease will be working with its affordable housing joint venture First Base and its partner Oakmayne.
The Peel Group holds assets of more than £4.5 billion, divided between four companies: Peel Ports, Peel Airports, The Trafford Centre (which manages the eponymous Manchester shopping complex) and Peel Land and Property. The latter has a portfolio of more than 836,000sq metres of floorspace, set in more than 10,000ha of land. Peel Ports is the UK's second largest port operator, based at Mersey Docks, Clydeport, Medway Port and the Manchester Ship Canal. The group's prize possessions also include Liverpool John Lennon Airport and extensive land and property at Glasgow Harbour.
In Glasgow, Peel is planning to open up almost two miles of waterfront to the public. The developer has promised that 40 per cent of the site will be green space, provided alongside shops, offices and 2,500 homes. Rivalling this scheme in terms of scale is MediaCity:UK, the future home of several BBC departments. This quayside Salford project features 121,000sq metres of offices, plus studio space and 2,250 flats.
Peel's portfolio of commercial investments totals £1.7 billion: it lets office, industrial, retail and leisure property and maintains an interest in business parks. Meanwhile, Peel Land and Property has a 24 per cent stake in the country's largest coal producer, UK Coal, which develops brownfield sites. The firm also has ambitious plans for high-rise developments along the Mersey north of Liverpool city centre.
With its investments in ports, canals and airports, the company is highly important to many of England's regions. It is also slightly enigmatic: the Whittaker family, who own and control Peel's four operations, are extremely discreet.
11. Barratt Developments
Investment commitments: £669m
Top 100 schemes value: £3,967m
Tel: Head of external affairs Dan Bridgett, 020 7299 4873
This company's major regeneration schemes appear under three guises: Barratt Homes, David Wilson Homes and Wilson Bowden Developments. Projects include the regeneration of the former steelworks site at Ravenscraig, a housing-led scheme at Bedford Western Bypass, the redevelopment of West Hendon estate in north-west London, and a 500-home mixed-use scheme at Bristol's Temple Quay. But the group's portfolio could change significantly in the next year. Barratt Developments is considering offers for Wilson Bowden, which it is now calling "a non-core part of the business" - though it bought the company for £5 billion only just over a year ago.
At the time, Wilson Bowden's development portfolio, including the 3,500-home Ravenscraig project, looked a very strong asset. Barratt now seems to be changing its calculations, and even without Wilson Bowden, the firm would not be short of work. Barratt Developments is working on 550 projects, with ongoing schemes in every English region and nation of Great Britain. In 2007, 78 per cent of the group's projects were on brownfield land.
The company has traditionally focused on London and the South, but several years ago it founded specialist unit Barratt Urban Regeneration to take on work in the Midlands and North. Group revenue last year was £3.05 billion, with £427 million profit before tax.
Founded in 2002 by Elliot Lipton, son of former Stanhope boss Sir Stuart, First Base is a private housebuilder specialising in providing affordable key-worker homes in London. First Base is a partner in national regeneration agency English Partnerships' £150 million London-Wide Initiative, which seeks to provide 5,000 homes - 2,000 of them affordable - in the capital. It is also a partner to social homes agency the Housing Corporation.
Based in Soho, the company employs 36 people and has projects in development that it expects to be worth £650 million on completion.
First Base is 45 per cent owned by developer Lend Lease and is working in joint ventures with the Australian group to provide the affordable housing element for two of the capital's highest-profile schemes. At the Stratford Olympic Village, 17,000-bed spaces for athletes will be transformed into 4,500 homes after London 2012, while the £1.5 billion Elephant & Castle redevelopment will supply a further 4,500 homes. It is also involved in a consortium bidding to develop 7,000 homes as part of the £3.1 billion redevelopment of the Canning Town area.
13. Crest Nicholson
Investment commitments: £615m
Top 100 schemes value: £2,090m
Tel: Crest Nicholson Regeneration chairman Chris Tinker, 01932 580 333
Crest Nicholson focuses its efforts on the South-East and South-West of England, where, according to the company's regeneration chief, Chris Tinker, it is content to stay. The firm looks for projects that will increase the viability of town and city centres. "We've got two types of regeneration projects," Tinker says. "Large, residentially driven schemes which include some other uses, and mixed-use schemes which include elements of retail, leisure and offices."
The developer's projects with a form of planning permission include Rochester Riverside, a 2,000-home development with Bioregional Quintain; Centenary Quay, a 1,650-home scheme in Southampton formerly known as Woolston Riverside; and more projects at Bath, Birmingham and Bristol. Market conditions permitting, the company could have a huge development portfolio: it is awaiting the granting of planning consents for ten schemes of 1,000-plus homes. Waterfront sites figure prominently in the group's portfolio, and no wonder: the company was born when Crest bought marina developer Nicholson.
Land Securities was founded in 1944 by Lord Harold Samuel - who coined the phrase "location, location, location" - with just three houses in Kensington and some government stock to its name. The company expanded rapidly, particularly in the late 1960s, and now boasts a commercial property portfolio worth around £14 billion.
The FTSE-100-listed company owns more than 200 buildings throughout the UK, including a large chunk of central London - notably Piccadilly Lights, New Scotland Yard and Westminster City Hall - and Birmingham's Bullring shopping centre. One of the projects that helps to cement Land Securities' position as a leading regeneration developer is in north Kent, where the firm is working with housebuilder Countryside Properties on the £3 billion Ebbsfleet Valley scheme in the Thames Gateway: the project has outline planning permission, and is intended to comprise more than 10,000 homes with office, retail and leisure facilities, primary schools and extensive green space.
Another major regeneration scheme - this one in partnership with Hammerson - is Cabot Circus, a retail project in Bristol that is due to be completed in the autumn.
Although Countryside Properties began life 50 years ago as a fairly traditional housebuilder, it now describes itself as being primarily in the regeneration business. "Many of our schemes are mixed use, and all of our housing is mixed tenure," says chair Alan Cherry. "We see our presence in the business of regeneration continuing into the long-term future." Cherry says his company intends to introduce more family accommodation in years to come, responding to the industry's oversupply of one-bedroom flats.
The developer focuses on London, the South-East and the North-West, and over 80 per cent of its investment in our Top 100 schemes is split between four Thames Gateway projects: Ebbsfleet, Chatham Maritime, Greenwich Millennium Village and Canning Town & Custom House. The last of these is the largest scheme by value, at £3.85 billion, and calls for the replacement of 4,500 mostly council-owned homes in the Lower Lea Valley, near the Olympics site. In the North-West, Countryside's biggest scheme is New Broughton, the redevelopment of a Salford council estate.
Established during a time of crisis in the property industry - 1992, when interest rates skyrocketed and sterling fell out of the EU's Exchange Rate Mechanism - Quintain is no stranger to market shocks. The firm was founded by Adrian Wyatt, who remains chief executive, and has since grown rapidly by building mixed-use schemes in regeneration areas, reaping the rewards both in rental income and in growing land values.
Pursuing a strategy of developing big-ticket London regeneration projects, in 2002 Quintain paid £48 million for the land around Wembley stadium and signed a deal with the Government and Lend Lease to develop the northern end of the Greenwich Peninsula. Given these £4 billion-plus schemes' London settings, excellent transport links, public sector backing and their late stage of development - work is underway on both sites - Quintain's investments still look robust even in these changing times.
The company has also worked to develop a reputation as a leader in the field of environmental sustainability, establishing the joint venture Bioregional Quintain (see below) as a specialist green developer. Its Top 100 investments comprise Wembley and Greenwich, plus Birmingham's City Park Gate project.
"We're based in the West Midlands, but we go wherever the job is," planning director Eric Hall says of this family-owned developer. Castlemore schemes can be found from Glasgow to Cornwall to Kent. Its most significant regeneration scheme is Temple Quay, a mixed-use project next to Temple Meads railway station in Bristol, which will combine commercial, retail and leisure space with 500 homes.
It wasn't always like this, says Hall. "The company's main growth came from doing retail sheds and office blocks. We could draw up a scheme with a commercial layout, but we weren't thinking about how residential would work." However, when the policy climate changed in the 1990s, the company changed too. It set up a housebuilding subsidiary, Spring, and started doing more mixed-use and residential developments. Castlemore is now working on Sheffield's £400 million West Bar mixed-use scheme, which won detailed planning permission in the spring (although too late to render the scheme eligible for inclusion in the calculations for this listing).
One of the country's most distinctive urban regeneration specialists, Urban Splash is known for dramatically refurbishing derelict industrial or dowdy residential buildings to create extremely fashionable homes and offices. Founded in 1993 by Tom Bloxham - a small-scale trader with a lot more vision and business sense than qualifications or experience - the Manchester-based company is one of the few major developers to remain in private ownership.
Two of Urban Splash's key ongoing regeneration schemes are New Islington in Manchester and North Shore in Stockton. The former - part of English Partnerships' Millennium Communities programme, which aims to create seven exemplar sustainable communities - is based on a Will Alsop vision and intended to feature a canal and water park, 1,700 homes, a school, a health clinic, shops, bars and restaurants. The latter aims to regenerate a 23ha site close to Stockton town centre.
MEPC (Metropolitan Estate and Property Corporation) was founded in 1946 and now has a portfolio totalling 836,000sq metres valued at £1.2 billion. Its properties accommodate 920 businesses employing more than 20,000 people. Since 2003, the company has focused mainly on the development of mixed-use business parks.
Its major regeneration project is currently in Yorkshire. In partnership with five other developers, MEPC is involved in the £1 billion Leeds West End regeneration scheme, which is due for completion in 2017 and expected to become one of Europe's largest city centre business quarters.
MEPC is developing the Wellington Place section of the scheme, a 9ha site that will provide around 279,000sq metres of office, residential, hotel, retail and leisure space, set near the railway station on the banks of the River Aire.
Town Centre Securities describes itself as "committed to comprehensive major mixed-use developments" - and its ongoing projects bear this out. The largest is the £1 billion regeneration of West End Leeds, announced last year as a collaboration with MEPC, Bruntwood, KW Linfoot, HBG Properties and George Wimpey City (now part of Taylor Wimpey). Town Centre's portion, Whitehall Riverside, calls for 51,000sq metres of office space and 400 homes along with bars and cafes. The first two phases are complete, and a new pedestrian bridge links the area with Holbeck Urban Village, south of River Aire.
Together with Hammerson, the developer has also formed the Leeds Partnership to transform the city's car-park-dominated eastern gateway. Sir Terry Farrell's masterplan envisages the Eastgate Quarters as a 100,000sq-metre retail-led development with leisure, office, residential and community facilities. A third major investment site is Manchester's 5ha Piccadilly Basin, where Danish retailer Ilva has opened up shop. The developer plans to turn the site into Manchester's "design quarter".
The firm's assets are valued at over £450 million, and pre-tax profits last year were £8.6 million.
Irishman Alfred Buller made his name in the property market developing office blocks in Holborn in central London, but over the past few years his company Bee Bee Developments has switched its focus to north Northamptonshire.
Private company Bee Bee has amassed a landholding of more than 1,200ha in the Midlands county, where it is bringing forward several big urban extension schemes aligned with the Government's plans for growth in the Milton Keynes-South Midlands area.
At Priors Hall near Corby, Bee Bee has outline planning permission for a £1.2 billion scheme including 5,100 homes, 63,000sq metres of commercial space and four schools. It has also submitted an application with partner Buccleuch Property - the Duke of Buccleuch's estate management company - to build 5,500 houses to the east of Kettering, and plans a further 5,000 homes in Wellingborough North.
The company continues to build offices in London, and is also working on a mixed-use scheme in Dublin. In total, it is developing projects with a completed value of around £3 billion.
Property development and investment company Terrace Hill is listed on the Alternative Investment Market with a value of just under £120 million. Led by chief executive Phillip Leech, the company has offices in London, the North-East, the South-West and Scotland. It manages a development and investment programme with a completed value of more than £1 billion, including a residential investment portfolio of £344 million and sufficient housing land in Scotland to build more than 1,200 homes.
Much of Terrace Hill's activity in England is concentrated in the office sector, but it also undertakes retail, industrial, leisure and mixed-use schemes. The company seems to have weathered the market downturn quite well so far: its quoted value has held steady, although its pretax profits fell from £25.8 million in 2006 to £18.1 million in 2007.
Terrace Hill has two schemes in the Top 100 Regeneration Projects: it is the preferred developer for the 140,000sq-metre Baltic Business Quarter on the bank of the River Tyne at Gateshead, and is developing offices and a £30 million retail warehouse scheme as part of the Middlehaven regeneration area in Middlesbrough.
Yorkshire-based City Lofts is a private development and investment company specialising in mixed-use and housing schemes across the UK. Since its creation in 1996, it has built up an investment portfolio worth £346 million and has £308 million worth of property under development.
In September, the developer purchased 11ha of land at Chatham Maritime in Kent from the South-East England Development Agency for a residential-led mixed-use scheme. It is also developing 429 apartments at the Kings Waterfront scheme in Liverpool in a joint venture with David McLean Homes, and was granted planning consent in March for a 33-storey residential tower in Cardiff.
City Lofts builds flats for young professionals living in city centres, a market that has been particularly hard hit by the recent housing downturn. In April, it announced plans to cut by half the size of residential developments at four of its city centre sites, and it's seeking to alter a planning consent to replace some flats with hotels.
Igloo was established in 2002 as an investment vehicle for Morley Fund Management's vast cash reserves. The United Nations describes Igloo as "the world's first socially responsible property fund": the firm is involved in more than 20 regeneration projects, from Glasgow to Cardiff. It carries these out either as a standalone developer or through its two joint ventures: Isis Waterside Regeneration, with British Waterways and Muse Developments; and Blueprint, with English Partnerships and the East Midlands Development Agency.
Igloo's investment policy states that its schemes should be sited in priority areas for urban regeneration, providing a variety of housing and high-quality public realm. Projects include Cardiff's Tiger Bay (formerly known as Roath Basin), where the developer plans to create 1,000 homes and commercial space designed to house 4,000 jobs. Another major project is Holbeck Urban Village in Leeds, where Isis is turning a 19th-century factory with distinctive Italianate towers into offices, homes and artists' studios.
Established as a joint venture company in 2005 to specialise in the creation of sustainable communities, this developer is owned 50:50 by major regeneration investor Quintain Estates & Development and sustainability consultancy Bioregional. It aims to build schemes that fulfil its set of "one planet living" principles, which include zero net carbon emissions, zero net waste production, sustainable transport, and the use of local and sustainable materials. It also focuses on the ongoing management of its developments, encouraging sustainable lifestyles among residents.
In December, Bioregional Quintain and partner Crest Nicholson were appointed as preferred developers for the first phase of the South-East England Development Agency's £500 million Rochester Riverside scheme in Chatham, Kent. Meanwhile, in the North it recently sold the first flats at its £200 million Riverside One sustainable community, part of Middlesbrough's £1.16 billion Middlehaven masterplan. Bioregional Quintain is also developing a zero-carbon scheme of 260 homes at Gallions Park in London's Royal Docks in partnership with Crest Nicholson, Southern Housing group and the London Development Agency.
CTP St James is a joint venture company established by two major regional developers to carry out large-scale regeneration projects. Manchester-based CTP and Leeds-based St James Securities have built commercial and mixed-use regeneration schemes across the UK.
The joint venture has so far concentrated most of its efforts in Yorkshire, where it is carrying out two schemes that qualify for the Top 100 Regeneration Projects. In November, CTP St James signed an £18 million deal with Bank of Scotland Corporate to secure funding for its St Paul's Place development. The scheme forms part of Sheffield's Heart of the City regeneration programme, and is set to provide around 18,600sq metres of offices and 12,100sq metres of retail and leisure space.
The two developers are also collaborating on the Holbeck Urban Village project in Leeds, where CTP St James's first phase of development is set to include 13,000sq metres of office space, retail stores and restaurants.
27. Muse Developments
Investment commitments: £204m
Top 100 schemes: value £434m
Tel: South region managing director Nigel Franklin, 020 8390 8300; North
region managing director Matt Crompton, 0161 877 3400
The company formerly known as Amec Developments was relabelled Muse last summer, following its £26 million takeover by construction group Morgan Sindall; the group spent a further £29 million to pay off Amec's debt. The name is a play on "mixed use", and the developer specialises in such schemes throughout the UK.
Muse has more than 30 projects in its development portfolio, with an estimated value on completion of £3.7 billion. Many of its schemes are carried out in partnership with the public sector, and Muse is also an investor in development partnership the English Cities Fund (along with fund manager Legal & General and English Partnerships) and a shareholder in public-private developer Isis Waterside Regeneration.
Muse makes it into our list of top investors thanks to its involvement, in partnership with Urban Splash and English Partnerships, in the 23ha North Shore scheme in Stockton-on-Tees, where 65,000sq metres of offices and 482 homes are proposed. It is also working with Taylor Wimpey in the £250 million Lewisham Gateway scheme in south London.
Morgan Sindall announced in February that Muse made a profit of £4.2 million in its first five months of trading.
Founded in 1988 by Irish entrepreneur Dan Tynan, Dandara first established itself as a developer of commercial and residential schemes in the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands. Since beginning operations on the mainland in 2000, the firm has focused on city-centre projects, becoming one of Manchester's most active developers. It has recently begun to look outside the North-West, and is working in Scotland, the South-East and Birmingham.
Current developments include GH2O, a 22- storey luxury apartment scheme on the River Clyde in Glasgow that forms part of the Glasgow Harbour regeneration area, and the V Building, a 50-storey residential tower in Birmingham city centre scheduled for completion in 2013.
Like many developers, Dandara has been affected by the housing market slump, and said at the end of 2007 that it would delay its next phase of development until existing schemes were sold.
English Cities Fund is a partnership between Muse Developments, Legal & General and English Partnerships. Its portfolio of six schemes in London, Plymouth and the North is set to produce 790,000sq metres of mixed-use space, including 4,000 homes.
The partnership has two schemes in our Top 100 Regeneration Projects. Millbay in Plymouth comprises a 10,500sq-metre arena, two hotels, shops and nearly 1,400 homes, and will open up the waterfront for public use. Canning Town & Custom House, in the London Thames Gateway area, is a massive scheme calling for the replacement of 4,500 homes. Countryside Properties is also involved in this scheme, while the English Cities Fund plans to provide 92,900sq metres of mixed-use space including 970 homes. The company is refining these proposals with the London Borough of Newham and London Thames Gateway Development Corporation.
The fund's other mixed-use schemes include Merchant Gate, between the east coast main line and the town centre in Wakefield; Clayton Brook, near Sportcity in Manchester; and Chapel Street in Salford. Another scheme, St Paul's Square and Pall Mall in Liverpool, is partially completed, with a third phase awaiting detailed planning approval from the local authority.
30. ING Real Estate
Investment commitments: £155m
Top 100 schemes value: £1,645m
Tel: Development country manager Guy Parker, 020 7767 5457
ING is a global real estate giant, with 2,500 staff in 21 countries and a portfolio worth more than EUR100 billion (£79 billion). The company is part of ING Group, which provides banking, insurance and asset management services.
ING Real Estate UK, based in London, is working on three projects in the Top 100 Regeneration Projects listing. Holt Town Waterfront aims to create a mixed-use urban quarter to the east of Manchester city centre. Stevenage Town Centre, a scheme with Stanhope and English Partnerships, should add 1,050 flats to the Hertfordshire town while improving retail, office and leisure facilities. And ING has joined forces with Karis Developments to form Karis Holdings, which is undertaking the mixed-use King Alfred scheme in Brighton.
Other projects include Hayel Harbour, a former industrial site on Cornwall's north coast. Here, ING plans to redevelop the waterfront, railway station and neighbouring farmland, and create what it calls a "thriving coastal community in which environmental and space-use issues get top billing".
It is working on the project with the South-West Regional Development Agency and LDA Design. Completion is planned for 2017.
Journalists and readers alike love ranked lists - and rightly so. League tables and Top 100s can provide a valuable snapshot of a sphere of activity, enabling people to strengthen their grip on who's who and identify potential partners. However, no ranked list should be considered without examining the way it has been produced; the information is only as reliable as the system by which it's calculated. In this case, our calculation system is very robust - but let's be clear: this is journalistic research, not scientific measurement.
To produce our top investors list, we began with our Top 100 Regeneration Projects special report (R&R, 7 March, p18), a league table of the UK's biggest physical regeneration schemes ranked by anticipated development cost. In turn, it is worth briefly running through the methodology by which this was produced.
Now in its second year, the 2008 Top 100 involved distributing a seven-page entry form: as well as posting it on our website and sending it to all those schemes named in the 2007 Top 100, we disseminated it via 300 council planning departments, 200 property-related PR professionals, 4,500 regeneration professionals, the British Property Federation, the Planning Officers Society and a host of other agencies. When the entries arrived, we checked that each development:
- had the support of the council, demonstrated by the granting of a planning consent or the masterplan's adoption as part of the council's planning framework;
- either owned most of the site or had a signed development agreement;
- could provide a realistic figure for the total cost of building each scheme, which had to be contained within a single site and not yet complete in February 2008;
- was in receipt of some form of public subsidy, which we defined to include gap funding, affordable housing cash and public infrastructure or service. (The aim of this criteria was to separate regeneration schemes from pure property development.)
To produce the Top Investors listing, we identified all the developers involved in each of the Top 100 Projects: we defined developers as "private or voluntary sector organisations whose role it is to instigate and manage physical developments and to take the initial risk associated with them, by assembling the capital and land, organising building designs and planning permission, overseeing the building process and securing a return on their investment". In other words, we wanted to profile the organisations that identify and pursue development opportunities, rather than the financiers who fund them or the construction firms contracted to build them.
Our reporters then set about trying to identify exactly how much capital each developer has committed to each of the Top 100 schemes in which they're involved: our mission was, in essence, to quantify each firm's exposure to risk. In many cases, developers provided these figures themselves; where they did not, we have attempted to calculate their financial commitment by talking to their public and private sector partners, and by scouring existing data sources. Clearly, definitions may vary slightly here, but in essence, we have produced figures for the amount of money that each developer has already spent or is committed to channelling into the scheme (either from its own reserves, or in the shape of loans or investments) for phases of the scheme that are certain to go ahead.
Inevitably, the results favour those organisations that have been most open about their financial commitments, but to ensure transparency we have also provided figures for the total value of the Top 100 schemes in which each developer is involved. The ratios between these two figures vary, so that, for example, Countryside and Quintain are involved in many billions of pounds worth of regeneration schemes, but their stated commitments are relatively low. In some cases, such disparities are due to a lack of public information about developers' commitments; in others, it may mean that they're playing a relatively small part in a large number of regeneration schemes.
What's more, some important developers have slipped off the bottom of our Top 30 due to their relatively small known commitments, and it's worth mentioning a few of these. Cibitas Investments - which is behind Manchester's Holt Town Waterfront scheme - and housebuilder Persimmon both came close to reaching the listing, while developers including InPartnership, FM Developments, Bellway, Wilson Bowden and Affinity Sutton are all involved in developments totalling £1 billion-plus. These days, several housing associations are also operating as developers: both Family Mosaic and Clapham Park Homes are taking forward major developments that feature in the Top 100.
Finally, we'd like to say thanks for the invaluable assistance given by our advisers on this project: Mike Dutton, head of programme management at English Partnerships, and Jon Sawyer, managing director of consultancy Eye.
We hope that you find this feature useful. If you think we're missing any key players, then please drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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