Scene Power in Property | Oglesby claims top prize
Who are the developers, civic leaders and other property players making the biggest impacts on the region with projects of great scale and quality?
The Scene Power in Property List sets out to answer that question. Below you will find the full list of 50 people profiled. The list is a celebration of the unique generation of property developers, civic and business leaders reshaping the region at a relentless pace, often in the face of fierce economic headwinds.
Last night Bruntwood chief executive, Chris Oglesby, was named the overall winner of the Scene Power in Property Award, crowned at a special event in Manchester.
All other entries in the list below are unranked.
Oglesby’s award follows a year in which Bruntwood demonstrated a level of leadership and responsibility to its customers and communities that has always been central to the firm and was needed more than ever as towns, cities and businesses struggled with successive lockdowns. Now effectively operating as two separate businesses, Bruntwood Works – offices, retail and leisure – and Bruntwood SciTech – a joint venture with Legal & General – the company has continued to seek new opportunities and set trends for others to follow.
Scene Power in Property List was devised by Manchester-based commercial interior design and fit-out firm Scene, in association with Place North West.
Scene Power in Property List
While other players were busy debating the future of work, Bruntwood was completing the Bloc wellbeing-led office in Manchester city centre and continuing to build multiple phases at once in the mixed-use Circle Square development on Oxford Road. The developer’s Pioneer series of reimagined modern workspaces is being rolled out to The Plaza in Liverpool and Bruntwood SciTech sets the pace while others wake up to the science and technology occupier market.
Projects in their early stages will pay off over the coming years. Partnering with Trafford Council, consent was secured for the 27-acre regeneration around Stretford Mall, with landmarks also hit in Altrincham town centre and Old Trafford. Bruntwood SciTech marched on too, chosen with Stanhope to deliver the £1.5bn ID Manchester. Sciontec, in which it is a 25% shareholder, completed Liverpool’s landmark Spine building.
Oglesby is both a visionary leader of his companies and a respected peer whose opinions are valued by fellow developers, investors and civic leaders.
Originally from Belfast, Craig took over as leader of the council on 1 December, bringing to a close the 25-year reign of Sir Richard Leese. A councillor since 2011, Craig has been vocal on the need to address social inequality. The former Southway Housing Trust board member is expected to be strong on social housing, an area in which Manchester has been criticised.
The first black woman to be a directly elected UK city mayor, Anderson has been in the role since May 2021. Given the dysfunctionality of the previous regime, a steady and uncontroversial term would serve Liverpool well enough while the council is reshaped. Anderson, with the rare opportunity of a clean slate, appointed a wholly new cabinet on taking office.
With much of her municipal experience built up in housing and regeneration, she has kept the Manchester development show on the road since joining in April 2017. While some experienced hands remain, Manchester’s top team is being refreshed under Roney’s watch, with development director David Lynch set to arrive from Bury, and strategic growth director Becca Heron already brought in from Wigan.
Reeves emerged with some credit in the scathing Caller Report into the local authority that has led to LCC now working under the watch of government-appointed commissioners. Recognised for his openness in dealing with legacy issues since arriving in August 2018, the former chief executive of Bradford Council also has a spell in Deloitte’s local government advisory practice under his belt.
Dubbed ‘King of the North’ as a man not afraid to front up to central government, whether over lockdown inequality or transport spending, Burnham faces big questions. Will enough genuine power ever be devolved to give genuine weight to the position he holds? If not, and with Labour looking to both widen its appeal and add experience, a return to Westminster politics as a big hitter in Keir Starmer’s top team might beckon.
Re-elected for a further term in 2021, Rotheram’s presence as metro mayor has differed from that of Burnham. With a lower personal profile, the LCR has set out to funnel investment from pretty much every government funding pot in regeneration, transport and housing across the six boroughs. Those outside Liverpool feared that when the system came in the big city would dominate, but each borough seems to be getting a fair crack.
You could paper the walls of a Deansgate Square bar with design plans for towers that looked great but proved undeliverable for one reason or another. Quite simply, Whitaker delivers in a field where many fail, and Renaker is responsible for a set of projects that have changed the Manchester skyline to an era-defining extent. Up next: the £741m Trinity Islands cluster, and towers of 50 and 42 storeys in Salford’s Greengate.
Everything Neville does sparks headlines, and his continued calling out of the government, along with joining the Labour Party in January, might signal a move into politics that many have long thought him suited for, especially if Andy Burnham moves on. Neville and his partners made a success of the Stock redevelopment, and although St Michael’s has proven a tough nut to crack, a £120m first phase is now primed to start in what would be the ex-Man United star’s statement project.
There are few minds in UK property keener than Ingall’s, constantly looking to refresh and question the orthodoxy. The delivery of Spinningfields, culminating in the No 1 office block that set all kinds of commercial high watermarks, demonstrated his strength of conviction, pressing ahead through dips and depressions with confidence the product would appeal. He’s also been flexible when needed, making sweeping changes in the retail and leisure mix. Now St John’s and Enterprise City should do for a wider mix of occupiers what Spinningfields did for the suits.
In a storied career, Shillaw has worked with Manchester Airport, BT, Town Centre Securities and the Co-op, as well as spending time as global head of real estate lending at Lloyds Banking Group. She’s well versed in how weighty organisations work and how to be involved in the big conversations. Harworth has shown its skills at Logistics North and remains a leader in its field.
No other practice has had such an influence on Manchester’s skyline over the past 30 years, and there’s no sign of slowing down. SimpsonHaugh remains the go-to studio for many of the ambitious tower projects that are coming to define Manchester and Salford in the first half of this century. Schemes currently moving forward include the keenly-awaited £741m Trinity Islands for Renaker and a 34-storey Affinity Living tower in Great Ancoats Street.
The city’s senior seat of learning is responsible for one of its most impressive new additions, Manchester Engineering Campus Development, set to fully open in September. As part of the Bruntwood-led Manchester Science Partnerships consortium, the university’s weight has underpinned the whole development of Oxford Road Corridor as an “innovation district” with ID Manchester among the latest steps proposed along on the road.
Property Alliance’s story is well told: Alex’s father David made a 1980s fortune in kitchens, then put it to work in property. PAG and associated businesses such as contractor Russell WBHO have become a major force, delivering offices, industrial, hotels and residential developments including Axis and Oxygen in Manchester. David remains as chairman, but Alex is an increasingly influential figure, having served his time in office agency with WHR then CBRE before taking the reins. He’s now marshalling prominent projects such as the £200m redevelopment of Manchester’s Renaissance hotel site, where PAG is partnering with Starwood Capital.
Jackson’s DeTrafford vehicle has become the dominant player in the redevelopment of the Chester Road corridor between central Manchester, Hulme and Old Trafford, with a series of projects targeted at the upper reaches of the residential market. Summer 2021 saw approval for the £94m Gallery Gardens, along with Phoenix Works, the final phase of DeTrafford’s Manchester Gardens residential community in the corridor.
For all its reinvention narrative, Manchester stands accused by some of creating a two-tier city, said to cater for the glitzy high-rise professionals over traditional, inner-city neighbourhoods and those who live there. The £1.4bn Victoria North sees the city looking to redress that. FEC is lead developer in reinventing and reconnecting neighbourhoods such as Collyhurst and Red Bank, along with elements like the 634-apartment triple tower scheme Victoria Riverside.
Smart operators make such a difference, and Glenbrook has made judicious plays in intelligent areas. Formerly Grosvenor’s man in Liverpool, Butler teamed up with former UK Land & Property director Sherry in 2015. Successes include The Keel in Liverpool, savvy work in Salford Quays and around Cornbrook as this well-connected pair have built up a capable team. Now appointed to deliver 750 homes at the £208m Lumina Village, Bruntwood and Trafford Council’s reworking of the old Kellogg’s HQ.
Ask endures. A proving ground for various developers in its Ken Knott-led days, the likes of Adam Higgins, Stephen Cliff and Les Lang blossomed in an age when Ask worked with every council going. Things are more streamlined under Hughes, who has demonstrated the ability to make telling relationships work and shown adaptability in reshaping the First Street masterplan as markets shift.
The Whittaker empire is of massive importance to the North West, and James, son of founding chairman John, is probably the most visible family member these days. The business remains a hugely important player in logistics and shipping, retail, waterside regeneration on both banks of the Mersey, and housing. Peel even looks like it has a fair chance of bringing golf’s Ryder Cup to Greater Manchester.
Each of Greater Manchester’s universities is playing a critical role in bringing forward important parts of the city, triggering further development in their respective orbs. MMU’s SODA digital arts building and the BDP-designed Institute of Sport were handed over in November. Fallon arrived in 2021 following similar roles in Sheffield and York, with key MMU projects including the £45m science and engineering John Dalton campus in the works.
At Manchester’s Kampus, HBD (formerly Henry Boot Developments) and partner Capital & Centric are pulling off a major piece of civic reconnection, plugging a no man’s land between the Gay Village and the environs of Piccadilly station. HBD is busy across the city: in September it secured approval for a 100,000 sq ft office scheme on the long-problematic Island site in John Dalton Street. Highly regarded, Brady has now been with HBD for more than 20 years.
Muse and the English Cities Fund public-private vehicle it leads continue to do important work across the region and beyond, not least in making sense of Stockport’s main gateway area. However, it’s for New Bailey and Chapel Street that Mayall is recognised here; these central Salford developments have made commercial sense at each step, earning lucrative office deals and delivering architecture of distinction. As completion nears, Chapel Street’s improvements should add to the permeability from Manchester into Salford just as the urban centre expands.
Splash may not be the front-running, attention-grabbing developer of its early 2000s pomp, but the strength of its brand remains, and the same can be said of Bloxham, always a speaker in demand. In an industry that often looks for average or blending-in as a virtue, Bloxham and his work challenge and ask questions. Splash reported revenue up by 7% in September 2021 and remains acquisitive, recent buys including Giant’s Basin in Castlefield.
Wild is the man on the spot at MediaCity, overseeing the development of a business community around the anchors of the BBC, ITV and the University of Salford. In November 2021, Land Securities paid £425.6m for a 75% stake in the 37-acre estate, Peel L&P retaining a 25% share. Outline consent is in place for a further 1.6m sq ft at MediaCity, ensuring it will be a big player for years to come.
Is C&C the Urban Splash of its day? No other developer seems keener to take on tricky sites with funky design solutions and C&C has demonstrated its ability to work with councils to make things happen in difficult but important locations. Liverpool’s Littlewoods complex, Stockport’s Weir Mill, several projects around Piccadilly, and then there’s Rochdale too. These aren’t guys who hang around.
C&W is now well established in the region and Baker is a highly regarded figurehead. The firm is busy across the advisory spectrum, with recent headline instructions including advising Chester University on the repositioning of its Warrington campus. Baker’s expertise is in place transformation, towns including Wigan, Stockport and Macclesfield having seen strategies developed under her stewardship.
The affable former boss of Manchester’s inward investment agency Midas, Sinclair has since 2016 been responsible for Knowledge Quarter Liverpool, and the stream of positive KQ news has been welcome in a tumultuous time for the city. Completion has now been reached on The Spine building, while Sciontec – the joint venture between the council, two universities and Bruntwood SciTech (Sinclair is ex-Bruntwood) – has an agreement for the £35m Hemisphere, a 116,000 sq ft office building.
Never one to court profile, Downing has pulled off some of the century’s most notable property deals in Liverpool and beyond. There have been trophy assets, such as the Port of Liverpool building sold in 2015, but student accommodation and city living have been recent areas of focus, with a 2,000+ unit co-living scheme in Manchester’s First Street in the works. A £380m portfolio sale to Greystar will fund its next development spree.
The Flood family have been pushing boundaries in different areas of development for years: forging a reputation in retail-led regeneration through Modus, combining education and sport with University College Football projects, and now making a major play in the build-to-rent sector. The 354-home No 1 Old Trafford was a distinctive completion in May 2021, soon to be followed by the 290-unit Anchorage Quay.
With Lord at the helm, Cert has emerged among the roster of capable developers operating in Manchester. In January, the firm acquired the 73-apartment Peelers Yard scheme in burgeoning New Cross, while it is awaiting a decision on a 30-storey tower at Clippers Quay, Salford. Cert’s commercial track record includes a tidy redevelopment of the Northern Quarter’s Hilton House.
Stoford has established a reputation as a business capable of delivering industrial property at scale, quickly and effectively. Last year, it development-managed Widnes108 for Logicor, leading to a deal with Intertape Polymer Group and was appointed by British Salt for a new facility, but most prominent is the whopping Icon development, a transformational project for Airport City, where the final 425,000 sq ft unit completed in October.
Stott has set his stall out on the power of premium branding. Vita Group covers high-end student accommodation with Vita Student and premium residential with Vita Living. Stott also owns Select Property Group, which delivers premium residential with Affinity Living. The numbers appeal to investors and Stott rolls on in and around Manchester’s development hotspots, with Select now looking to deliver a new Affinity Living tower in Manchester’s Piccadilly Basin.
The Issas’ withdrawal of plans for an 84-acre burial ground in Lancashire represents a rare setback for the all-conquering Blackburn businessmen. The takeover of Asda, combined with the forecourt business where they made their name, make the Issas a hugely important presence in the region, even before considering property-specific projects such as the 1m sq ft-plus big box logistics offer Frontier Park on the M65.
Manchester Life is the joint venture between Manchester City Council and the Abu Dhabi United Group, owner of Manchester City FC. The organisation has been a driver for regeneration in Ancoats, pushing forward a variety of schemes, including Murrays’ Mills and the 213-home Lampwick Quay, sold to PGIM Real Estate in September 2021. There’s also the Ancoats mobility hub aimed at creating a more people-focused neighbourhood.
Currie joined Legacie, Liverpool’s ubiquitous developer, in October to head a national expansion for the business, which has active schemes including the £90m Parliament Square in the Baltic Triangle and Element The Quarter. Currie and his team have also now taken on responsibility for stalled Elliot Group schemes including the 300-apartment Embankment Exchange in Salford and the £250m Infinity in Liverpool.
Formerly the regional boss of the Homes & Communities Agency, McLaughlin is one of the regional property scene’s premier plate-spinners. As well as non-executive roles with residential developer Mulbury and social landlord ForHousing, she’s one of the four government-appointed commissioners parachuted in to run the rule over Liverpool City Council.
There can’t be much Parry hasn’t seen in his time at the sharp end of development. He’s been with prominent Liverpool developer Neptune, now known as Ion Developments, since 1990, becoming MD in 2004. Parry has overseen plenty down the years, with recent schemes including the mixed-use development on Lime Street, the 50-acre Earlsfield Park in Knowsley and work at Rhyl Waterfront.
Caroline Simpson, chief executive, Stockport Council
The potential in Stockport has been obvious for years. It isn’t proving cheap, but the interventionist council now seems to be on top of what it wants the town centre to be. Simpson is newly promoted from her role as corporate director of place and has been a key figure in helping the local authority get to grips with hefty urban renewal challenges, all faced during a period of unhelpful political infighting. If it can make a success of the £120m Interchange project, Stockroom and town centre residential, the rest will surely follow.
Wily veteran Downes has been of the North West’s cannier property players for some years, and the Daresbury science park remains a project of regional, even national, significance. Langtree is in good health financially, reporting a £2.3m profit in November 2021, and now has the all-clear for Parkside Colliery, one of the region’s largest industrial sites. There’s also the Wire Regeneration joint venture with Warrington Council.
The 2018 move by Canadian consultancy powerhouse Avison Young to swoop for GVA, after previously picking up WHR, brought plenty of regional expertise across different fields under one roof, and Cheap is at the head of that business in the region. With an office agency grounding, he’s a well-liked figure with a good eye on the macro issues and how wider events affect local markets.
Salboy, the development business backed by bookmaking tycoon Fred Done, has made some serious waves in Manchester and Salford in recent years. The 18-storey Fifty5ive topped out in January, the £120m Castle Irwell is now on site, as is Viadux, which looks to combine imaginative use of historic railway arches with a 40-storey tower. The 380-unit Local Blackfriars apartment complex in Salford is now up and running.
It’s sometimes tricky to pin down exactly what qualifies as build to rent and what doesn’t, but Moda works because it’s a triumph of branding that uses technology well to support the customer care central to BTR success. The £90m Lexington at Liverpool’s Princes Dock, a 325-apartment tower, completed in September, while Moda is also responsible for Angel Gardens in Manchester. A suburban venture, backed by Ares, was launched in November.
Keeling has been to the fore in making Bruntwood Works – the workspace, retail and leisure arm of the group – a veritable whirlwind of reinvention. The main project is the £100m Pioneer redevelopment programme modernising assets including Bloc in Manchester and The Plaza in Liverpool. There is also a significant partnership with Trafford Council to revive town centres in Altrincham and Stretford.
Formerly a proactive Conservative leader of Trafford Council, Anstee didn’t rest when control of the authority was lost in 2018. After a move into public affairs consultancy, he’s also a governor of Manchester Metropolitan University and group chair of Trafford Housing Trust. A not-for-profit organisation, THT is part of large registered provider L&Q Group, giving it serious punching power in an age when housing associations are more critical than ever.
Wherever you find Salboy, you’ll find Domis. McCarren, who set up Domis after leaving Bolton contractor Forrest, where he was chief executive for eight years, had previously risen rapidly at Bardsley. Domis works closely with Salboy, on projects including Viadux, Castle Irwell and Local Blackfriars, and has also stepped in to deliver projects including No 1 Old Trafford for Cole Waterhouse.
Seddon has established a reputation over the years for doing things the right way and treating people well. A trusted partner of local authorities and registered providers, the contracting arm was recently appointed by Salford Council on two housing schemes, is working with Trafford Housing Trust on a 122-home development in Chorley and Community Gateway Association on 230 homes in Preston.
As well as heading the regional operation of one of the world’s largest consultancies, Hogg is the senior figure for regional residential at the firm. JLL is always among the deals across offices, industrial and investment, and where others talk a good game, has acted decisively in health & wellbeing, investing to make its Landmark base in Manchester the first workspace outside London to achieve WELL Platinum status.
The Kamani family have built up considerable wealth through clothing, and Adam has been busily putting it to work in Manchester property. Of particular note is a partnership with Capital&Centric which will deliver 200 homes at Ancoats Works and a nine-storey, 118-home project at Swan Street. Tribeca House, a 27,800 sq ft Northern Quarter office block, was completed in January.
Formerly with HOW Planning and The Environment Partnership, Brett-Parr joined FEC’s UK set-up in 2017 and has moved up from development manager to project director. FEC’s role in Manchester is to deliver Victoria North, with seven neighbourhoods plotted within a 15,000-home masterplan. The 5,500-home Red Bank is crucial, and the government’s Housing Infrastructure Fund has provided £51.6m to make it work.
Ogden has been in the driving seat at powerhouse CBRE’s North West operation since 2006, and the firm is very much part of the region’s big conversations. CBRE is among the team plotting Greater Manchester’s retrofit campaign as it seeks a carbon-neutral future, while in development advisory it has recently guided Aegon through planning for the Speakers House redevelopment.
All images supplied by the subject’s organisation