As announced this morning, Peabody has selected Lendlease as preferred partner to deliver their ambitious vision for Thamesmead Waterfront; one of the largest regeneration opportunities in Europe and a project of strategic scale for both London and the UK.
Having witnessed several similar opportunities in our industry fail to reach this stage over the last few years, and as lead commercial adviser on Thamesmead Waterfront, I want to explore how we’ve got to this significant milestone.
Avison Young (formerly GVA) worked with Peabody over the last two years to help shape the vision and strategy for this opportunity which will see the delivery of a new neighbourhood for London with over 11,500 homes and thousands of employment opportunities.
An opportunity of this scale does not, of course, come without challenges and careful decision making.
Avison Young was initially instructed to provide strategic planning and economic modelling to support the case for the DLR extension which is essential to underpin density and value growth.
Peabody’s understanding of the importance of working closely and openly with their commercial adviser from such an early stage has been fundamental in reaching this stage. It enabled us to be fully embedded throughout the process, and to understand and shape the overarching ambitions and vision for the site.
This transparency allowed us to work with Peabody to distil their aspirations into clear objectives and priorities for the project which were used to frame the most appropriate route to market and will, in time, form guiding principles for the joint venture.
So often with complex opportunities of this nature, we witness an appetite to move quickly into delivery mode due to political pressures to deliver housing and unfortunately, this often fails to give sufficient time to masterplanning, economic modelling and objective setting. All of which are project-critical.
More so than ever, when developers and investors are considering tendering opportunities, they are rightly placing increased importance on the level of due diligence and preparation the client has taken in the early stages of the project.
This is to avoid difficulties further down the line, and ensures that due process has been followed, all parties have a clear understanding of the challenges and opportunities the project presents and importantly that all parties are committed to their agreed objectives and vision at all levels. Within the context of Local Authority clients, this extends to Member and Officer level and across political parties.
Peabody has been exemplary in its careful and considered approach to defining the opportunity, framing their vision for the project and engaging fully at all levels of the Charity. This has been critical to the successful selection of a preferred partner and will undoubtedly lead to success as they work together within the joint venture to deliver on their ambitions and visions for both Thamesmead Waterfront and the wider existing Thamesmead community.