Welcome to Wembley
Quintain Ltd is the driving force behind the evolution of Wembley Park – one of the most exciting destinations in all of London – and the UK’s largest Build to Rent property development undertaking
Formed in 1992, when it was initially focused on short-term leasehold assets, Quintain has since gone on to establish itself as a leading developer of major regeneration programmes in some of London’s most exciting destinations. A vertically integrated entity specialising in land acquisition, masterplanning and design, development, delivery, management and place-making, Quintain identifies opportunities to transform property and places in the UK’s capital city and beyond into highly-attractive assets and locations. Quintain recently launched its Irish subsidiary; set to develop over 9000 homes and 600,000 sq ft. of commercial space at four sites, over 460 acres of prime development land, in Greater Dublin.
Historically, Quintain was an instrumental player in the conception of Greenwich Peninsula, a 15,000-home development around The O2 Arena in South East London. Today, however, its most famous project is Wembley Park, the company’s 85-acre development surrounding the UK’s National Stadium in North West London, where to date it has completed more than 2000 homes and mixed use development, including London’s first designer outlet centre, a 361-bedroom Hilton Hotel, 295-bedroom Premier Inn, Boxpark Wembley and the Troubadour Wembley Park Theatre.
The Wembley Park scheme commenced in 2002, following Quintain’s acquisition of approximately 44 acres of exhibition land and car parks found around the stadium. Subsequent land purchases helped to create one of the largest urban regeneration sites in Europe, with Quintain currently having consent for a total of 8.8 million square feet of development, including 8000 new homes for London. Amongst these new homes will be 5000 built-to-rent properties, making Wembley Park the largest single-site purpose built ‘Build to Rent’ development anywhere in the UK. These are in turn operated by Quintain’s Build to Rent management company, Tipi, which offers an all-inclusive lifestyle focused rental scheme.
“While we have been developing Wembley Park since the early 2000s, it was in 2015, when the company was taken private by American private equity firm Lone Star Funds, and received a significant injection of equity cash, that we were really able to accelerate our delivery of new homes. This has resulted in a scenario where we currently have over 3000 apartments under construction,” explains Quintain’s Executive Director of Construction, Matt Voyce.
A quantity surveyor by background, Matt has been a part of the construction industry for the best part of three decades, joining Quintain in 2007. Today, he leads the project management team at Wembley Park, with specific responsibility for design management, procurement and construction. His role includes the establishment of the company’s contractor framework, the commercial and contractual negotiation of contracts, programme and quality management, and the implementation of its site wide logistics strategy.
“At Wembley Park, we have awarded construction contracts to four key contractors, these being Wates, McLaren, John Sisk and Son, and McAleer & Rushe,” Matt continues. “The framework we put in place when securing these contracts allowed us to guarantee capacity in the market, whilst also ensuring that construction could be completed at pace. As a business, we have always understood that while we possess our own strengths and talented people, our main contractors and the wider supply chain will undoubtedly have individual skill sets that Quintain may not, and we are never afraid to embrace that fact. For us, it is purely about identifying the right people with the right skills to do the job at hand.”
A highly collaborative approach permeates across the entire Wembley Park site, with Quintain and its contractors working closely with one another through all manner of tasks, whether it be site logistics, health and safety initiatives, access arrangements and so forth. This approach pushes all players to operate to the highest levels and provides everyone involved with greater opportunities to add value and succeed. As a consequence of this, the project continues to deliver buildings on time, to budget, and to the utmost levels of quality, and does so with an exemplary health and safety record that exceeds industry averages.
Wembley Park is taking shape at an interesting time for the construction industry as a whole, as it faces up to the need to evolve and embrace new, innovative ways of building. However, as Matt goes on to detail, one of the keys of success today is pairing fresh thinking with tried and tested traditional build methods, and a clear strategy. “For me, it is the ability to plan and engage properly, to have honest conversations at all stages of a contract, to bring together skill sets, and do one’s job properly, which helps to unlock the potential of the market,” he says. “Long before work commences on our projects, we plan for success, and that is what we are delivering. I think what you see in and around Wembley Park today is a huge testament to this approach and our efforts.” Today, some 3000 people and a massive number of vehicle movements occupy the project site, with Quintain spending between £45 million and £50 million construction capex per month. Meanwhile, the area of focus that the company will soon be turning its attention to will be the next wave of residential Build to Rent construction, due to begin in 2020, and comprising up to 2500 new homes. “This phase of the project is now passing through the early stages of the masterplanning process, before leading into detailed design,” Matt states. “The consultancy teams are now in place, and we will soon be engaging with our main contractors to discuss how we can bring these homes to site in a leaner, greener way, in order for the existing Wembley Park residents to continue enjoying their experience in the area without the disruption of some of the more conventional building techniques often used.”
Identifying new opportunities
The plan as of now is for work at Wembley Park to be fully complete by 2027. So, what will the future beyond this hold for Quintain? “What Lone Star Funds understood when acquiring Quintain – and in the process Tipi as well – was that the value of our proposition is significant, and that what we offer is an opportunity to expand this much further afield than just Wembley Park,” Matt says. “With this in mind, we are increasingly turning our attention to where we can add value to other major cities in the UK, we’ve just announced the launch of our Irish subsidiary to work across prime development sites in Greater Dublin and we will possibly look to mainland Europe in the future. We are excited about growing our platform, and Lone Star Funds has been extremely supportive of our ambitions. It is now upon all of us at Quintain to work hard to identify the opportunities that meet our business case drivers. By doing so, there is no reason why we can’t look forward to a scenario where – in the not- too-distant-future – we see several more Wembley Park-type developments taking shape in different locations across the UK, Ireland and beyond.”
Services: Property developer