The perfect partner
With over 20 years of industry experience in residential led property development, Acorn Property Group (Acorn) has established an impressive portfolio of completed residential and commercial projects throughout London, the South West, Bristol, Cardiff and the South of England
Acorn’s Founding Principles were a strong focus on the provision of bespoke schemes and interesting sustainable architecture that adds quality and a sense of purpose to a building’s immediate environment. Numerous successful partnerships have earned Acorn a reputation as the ultimate flexible joint venture partner for land owners, property professionals, introducers, building contractors, banks, financiers, local councils and housing associations.
“Acorn is an independent residential led developer, with regional offices in London, Cornwall, Bristol, Cardiff and recently Hampshire,” elaborates Managing Director, Melanie Omirou. “The company has been creating award winning residential and mixed-use schemes since 1995, our business plan is based around niche developments and no two projects are the same. We are an opportunity led business that is driven by the sites offered to us and not by set housing number targets like most PLC house builders.
“We have no specific type of site we wish to purchase or finished product, we react to local demand and to a site’s specific strengths and weaknesses. We develop greenfield and brownfield sites in urban and rural locations and we are equally happy with new build projects or conversions. We buy land with or without planning permission and are happy to look at Options and planning promotion agreements.”
During the past two decades Acorn has built an impressive track record in the development of architecturally interesting commercial and residential buildings throughout the South of England. This success has been spurred by the company’s flexible and responsible approach to working with both its clients and its partners. “Using the team’s extensive experience and the regional knowledge we aim to be the perfect development partner and we acquire most of our land through partnerships,” Melanie says. “We are very flexible as a business and structure our deals around the needs of not only the site and local stakeholders, but our partners as clients and of course the occupiers of our homes.”
The culture of flexibility within Acorn is as important to the way the business operates internally. This has played an import role in allowing Acorn to create a positive relationship between the company and its employees that champion equality within the workplace while maintaining high levels of productivity. “Although people claim that there are now less stereotypes in the property workplace, they do still exist and the challenge is to continue to change these preconceptions, particularly in the field of construction,” Melanie explains. “The property development world is slowly attracting more women, but being a woman in this business can be very tricky.
“Another challenge is that the construction industry can be quite rigid and ‘nine to five’, which can be problematic when trying to balance work and family life. Through the use of remote connections, more and more people are working from home and I think it is something that is becoming more acceptable across a number of industries. This particularly helps employees with families who can adapt their work hours or number of days to suit their needs and, whilst it might mean that they may have to get up at 5am and still be working at midnight, it fits their lifestyle and it works.” The approach taken by Acorn to its staff and working hours has proven highly successful in driving the business forward and led to an extremely high level of staff retention.
Acorn’s willingness to take on challenging and varied projects has allowed the company to develop a diverse portfolio of projects. For example, Acorn is currently involved in the development of a large former school and its extensive grounds in Bath. “The Bath site includes a listed Georgian Manor, the construction of a new build block of flats above a basement car park, three new build but different terraces of mock Georgian town houses all to be built in Bath stone and four ultra modern low build lateral houses set beneath sedum roofs. This is an incredibly varied project from a construction point of view and especially as the site is a natural sloping amphitheatre and this truly demonstrates our flexible approach to and our ability to construct complex projects.”
Melanie also reveals another example of Acorn business flexibility: “One of our projects in London is a collaboration with a 500-year old Charity whose prime aim is to increase its long term income and capital so they can continue with their charitable aims. We have developed a part of their portfolio giving back to them half of the completed units and the freehold reversion resulting in the Charity increasing both their annual income and the capital value of their investment. This joint venture was constructed entirely to meet our partner’s needs.”
With a diverse portfolio of projects and a culture of flexibility and collaboration, Acorn is keen to build on its current success and to distinguish itself as a unique property developer. “During 2016 we will focus on growing our regional business and brand as we complete some of the amazing sites within our development pipeline,” Melanie concludes. “We want to continue with our strong focus on partnerships and joint ventures and continue developing beautiful buildings with people who share our vision and passion.”
Acorn Property Group
Services: Residential developer