A review on 2019
Happy New Year everyone!
2019 was a momentous year for Investar Property Group. We experienced continuous highs, ranging from inward-financing through to the appointment of new senior team members. Critically, as a company, we achieved total clarity on our vision of revitalising UK towns, adding social value through placemaking. With our current projects delivered, and new placemaking opportunities secured, this marks an uplift of our position, and the beginning of a new chapter.
Internally, we experienced growth within our hard-working and exemplary team. We added brand-new positions, including the appointment of James Alderson as Head of Development and Geoff Willis as Investment Director. We also strengthened the supporting members of the team across accounts, marketing and customer service – all of us working together for a common goal. As the company grows, each and every one of us is growing individually and professionally – it’s really lovely to see this great personal development. I was nominated for this year’s exclusive Insider Media ‘42 under 42′ alumni along with other business leaders, including Tom Blockham MBE, Gary Neville and Esther McVey – a true honour!
I want to take this opportunity to thank each member of my team at Investar, your commitment and support is not unnoticed – and is extremely appreciated. Additionally, to the many excellent external team members, colleagues and partners – thank you for your support throughout the year.
We made significant waves across our rental portfolio and hospitality business, streamlining business operations to ensure we are well prepared for our mission across the next decade. We acquired 100 percent of our luxurious waterside development in Liverpool, Quayside Apartments. This enables us to maximise the return on our development and provide a complete solution thanks to our in-house management company.
December 6th was a very proud day for all of us; Melody Gardens, our first social-rent project was officially completed and handed over to the client, Places for People. This project was constructed by Watson Homes and designed by TADW architects. Testament to Melody Gardens’ social value and reception by the local community and industry alike, this scheme was shortlisted for the illustrious Insider North West Residential Property Awards 2019 in the Social Impact Award category – true praise indeed! Melody Gardens is a perfect example of a collaboration between the developer and the buyer, resulting in a stunning development of social-rent homes, moving from fractional sales and developments to institutional level projects.
Additionally, along with other projects we have in the pipeline, we have also begun our very first placemaking/mixed use scheme. This acts as a catalyst for both us and the council, marking the beginning of elevating our profile to accomplish our placemaking mission across the North West and beyond. With political support from government bodies, we have now moved to playing at an entirely new level – I can’t wait to share some more news very soon!
During the past 5 years, we have experienced exponential growth thanks to varying our business offering.. This has led to our success in entering the much bigger world of placemaking, and we want to continue to ride on this wave. As such, we will look to diversify our portfolio into new commercial sectors, which will continue to support our core residential placemaking goals. We will continue to grow this through hospitality and commercial acquisitions, and ancillary uses that support our wider placemaking aims. We fully recognise that at the centre of every great placemaking scheme is diversity and flexibility: all instrumental in creating mixed use neighbourhoods.
2020 and beyond
People can overestimate what can be achieved in a year, yet underestimate what can be achieved in a decade. Investar was founded about 5 years ago with £170k, and today we have a pipeline of £200 million GDV – I don’t think we could have foreseen this! 2014-2019 saw us growing from grassrootsto completing the first phase of the company’s three stage growth. Now we are ready for 2020 and the next decade!
Finally, to ensure that we can meet our mission of delivering 10,000 new homes over the next 10 years, we need to have a series of funds set up so that we can spearhead opportunity when the time is right. Our method is to strategically acquire income producing assets and investments that have medium to long term residential potential with an initial £25m investment.
Looking to 2020, we have a number of projects in the pipeline, with us working to secure an additional 500 units for a residential scheme. We will continue to run and balance the three wheels to the business, which act as a continuous flow of support for each element:
- Investment provides a regular income which flows through to support each element of the business.
- Residential development generates additional profit and continues to add value to the business.
- Placemaking is our mission, and a journey we are passionate about – delivering mixed use schemes to add social value.
We can’t wait for the next stage, so please join me in welcoming and making 2020 our best year ever – and the beginning of our next chapter.
Best wishes for 2020!
Michael Dong, CEO