This week we lift the lid on the Industrial and Logistics (I&L) part of our business – a team that’s delivering more than 1.25m sq ft of new industrial space in 2023, with more schemes planned to start later this year.
Today, our colleague and director Vivienne Clements talks about the purpose of our I&L business, and how extraordinary teamwork ensures that HBD’s offer entices and inspires our people, partners and occupiers.
I&L is a significant element of HBD’s business and over the years our schemes have delivered an incredible 2.9m sq ft in the past two years alone in 36 units.
But developing in this sector is extremely competitive and is not without its challenges. That’s why we’ve built our I&L offering on really solid foundations, creating sustainable I&L workspaces that truly stand out as best in class in a busy market.
Creating Places with Purpose
Delivering on our promise to create places with purpose isn’t always easy and certainly is never down to just one individual. It’s the result of the cumulative efforts of many great people; people in our own team, in our supply chain, our partners, and ultimately of course our occupiers who together help us establish fantastic new I&L spaces across the country.
One of the unique points of difference in HBD’s I&L offering is that we manage everything in house. We have a fantastic team of development managers with a wealth of expertise and fantastic market knowledge, and we support and invest in them to keep them at the top of their game. They are the primary contact for occupiers and other stakeholders throughout the development phase, building genuine long-term relationships that continue long after a project completes. Our project managers are involved in the process from the outset adding value for HBD, our partners and occupiers.
These I&L teams are also supported by the broader business functions. Our finance arm supports our partnerships and our marketing team deliver incredible campaigns that put our warehouses and logistics centres firmly on the map. It’s an engine with many moving parts, each working efficiently together.
Great partnerships are also crucial to delivering our work and achieving the levels of excellence to which we all aspire. We’re fortunate to partner with leading funders and landowners, individuals and businesses who share our values and look far into the future. Neither HBD nor our partners solely focus on quick wins, instead we invest our time, passion and knowledge to create places with purpose – places which will stand the test of time, and which provide first class facilities to meet and surpass occupiers’ expectations time and time again, and in the process deliver enhanced returns to everyone involved.
Of course, location is key and finding great sites is the starting point for every successful project. Often we’re having conversations with landowners that we’ve known for a very long time – organisations like The Devonshire Group – people with whom we can talk strategically, advising them on opportunities across their estate. It’s a unique point of difference that when combined with our ability to provide early speculative funding means our forward pipeline features a total of 613 acres.
Nurturing these relationships is key but so is securing funding. Having access to our own equity and by co-funding I&L schemes we reinforce strong partnerships with funders, importantly boosting confidence through the sharing of risk.
Over the years we have developed many purposeful partnerships with the likes of Derbyshire County Council at Markham Vale, Southend Borough Council with ABP, Homes England and Walsall Council at SPARK, with investors such as Barings at Momentum, and private companies like Barnfield at EAST.
We pride ourselves that these partners recognise the reputation of the HBD brand in the I&L market and the confidence in our ability to deliver. We always operate with the utmost integrity; ensuring that we align fully with our partners’ objectives – if you’re travelling in the same direction, at the same pace with the same outlook you always reach the end goal faster and with better results.
2023 brought with it continued economic uncertainties and it is vital that we are able to flex to the ebbs and flows of the marketplace, accommodating occupiers’ changing requirements and working closely with our contractors as they navigate supply issues. A key USP as a considerate developer and partner is flexibility, something that surprisingly isn’t always the case in our sector.
With the incredible skill and knowledge within our team, we look to support occupiers as much as possible, working with them as we analyse their needs in line with the nuances of the market. That support might come in the form of helping them access the local, regional or national labour markets, facilitating access to the arterial road network, or, as is even more pertinent in the current market, delivering a reliable, sustainable and powerful energy supply. These variables regularly change so our flexibility, always adapting to foresee and meet occupier requirements, is central to delivering successful outcomes.
Supporting growing businesses
We also pride ourselves on accommodating occupier expansion within our portfolio – who doesn’t love to see a successful business grow and it is great to deliver a repeat service for thriving businesses. Often, we’ve delivered a project and the new location has seen a business thrive so we are partnering with them again to find out how we can help them expand further on the same site or across new locations.
Offering mixed-tenure options is also something that’s increasingly important to occupiers. There’s been an influx of investors into the UK market in this area in recent years, and while that’s been fantastic there is a downside in that it reduces the options available to the occupier; most investors are chasing rental income. For HBD however, we are able to look at things quite differently as we offer bespoke transactions on a variety of occupational tenures; such as leasehold, leasehold with the option to purchase, freehold transactions, accommodating all market requirements.
Many people will be surprised to hear that of the 9 deals we currently have on site or in legals, 5 are freehold.
Keeping the plates spinning
Of course, as much as we pride ourselves on always delivering to meet our occupier requirements, delivering sustainability is absolutely central to our business model. I started this piece by telling you our places are built with purpose – and sustainability is a huge part of that and something that my colleague Mark has written about this week (read here).
Each of these elements ensure we can create places with purpose – both now and in the years to come…