One of the biggest investors in the fast-growing Build to Rent market is rebranding its ‘lifestyle-focused’ rental operator arm – in what it is calling an evolution of its BTR platform.
Quintain, the London-based developer leading the transformation of Wembley Park in the north west of the capital, has revealed that its wholly-owned Build to Rent operator – known as Tipi since it launched in 2016 - will be rebranded to Quintain Living from October 5.
This might come as a bit of a shock given how effective Tipi has been as a brand – becoming arguably London’s best known and most recognisable BTR operator of the last few years. Initially, it used revolutionary, Che Guevara-style branding to capture the attention of people travelling on London buses, trains and Tubes – asking people to join the rental rebellion with a brand that required no deposits and no hidden fees – but in more recent times this has been toned down, with a slightly less provocative and eye-catching approach.
Still, the Tipi branding – which also evokes the tipi tents, used mostly by indigenous people in the Americas, where the canvas is placed between wooden poles – has been distinctive and headline-grabbing throughout, and has helped Quintain to build a mini BTR empire in Wembley Park.
Tipi currently operates 1,969 homes in the area surrounding Wembley Stadium, which is set to grow to a total of 6,044 homes when the Wembley Park development as a whole is completed. At that stage, it will be the largest single-site of Build to Rent in the UK.
In March last year, we visited Wembley Park to ask whether BTR could solve the country’s housing crisis. The rental operator offers brand new studio, one, two and three-bed apartments co-designed with Samsung and John Lewis & Partners across a number of buildings.
As well as announcing the rebranding of its BTR arm, Quintain – which was established in 1992 and acquired by US private equity firm Lone Star in 2015 – also revealed the recruitment of Danielle Bayless as chief operating officer to head up Quintain Living.
Bayless joins from US multifamily specialist Essex Property Trust, where she was vice president of operations, responsible for the management of more than 23,000 apartments on the West Coast of the United States.
James Saunders, chief executive officer for Quintain, said: “We launched our award-winning asset and property management business four years ago as one of the pioneers of multifamily/Build to Rent in the UK and since then we have focussed on building our team and our platform for growth at Wembley Park and beyond.”
He added: “Whether you work on the development or operations side of Quintain, we have always behaved as one business and the brand is being updated to reflect this. We are also introducing a range of new benefits for our residents to accompany the brand change, reflecting our ongoing dialogue with residents, including adaptable social spaces, an enhanced gym offer, online self-service customer leasing and a new residents’ app.”
He says the company are positioned for significant further growth, at Wembley Park, Ireland and beyond, as it increases ‘both the number of homes under management and the range of product offerings to provide for different sectors of the market’.
“The appointment of Danielle Bayless is a major boost to our business, bringing a seasoned multifamily operator to further develop our platform and scale economies,” Saunders said.
Bayless herself said: “I am thrilled to be part of something as ground-breaking as Wembley Park. This is a fantastic opportunity to use the skills I’ve developed over more than 30 years in the multifamily sector in the US and apply them strategically in the rapidly growing UK Build to Rent market.”
She added: “The quality of the development at Wembley Park stands out as the premium product in the UK, and even exceeds most multifamily developments in the US. I look forward to overseeing significant further growth and diversification whilst making best use of technology to further improve services to residents.”
How has Wembley Park been transformed?
The area around Wembley Stadium had been unloved for many years before Quintain embarked on its ambitious plans to significantly regenerate the whole area.
The British developer’s interest in Wembley Park was acquired in 2002 – and, to date, the 85-acre development has seen more than £2 billion invested and welcomed more than 16 million visitors last year.
The site is currently made up of the SSE Arena, which Quintain refurbished and then reopened in 2006; Boxpark Wembley, the third iteration of Roger Wade’s modern street food, events and leisure concept, which opened in late 2018; and London Designer Outlet, which includes 70 high street stores, restaurants, bars, coffee shops and a nine-screen Cineworld cinema. It opened as the first outlet centre in Greater London in October 2013 and has been a big driver in Wembley’s transformation, bringing people from far and wide.
The Wembley Park site also includes a 361 room, four-star Hilton Hotel, a Premier Inn hotel, Wembley Park Market and over 3,500 homes, while Brent Civic Centre was built in 2012 for the local community. More recently, Troubadour Wembley Park Theatre – formerly Fountain Studios, where The X Factor and various other TV shows were once filmed – officially launched in July 2019.
While the area could be criticised for being too built up and with too many identikit high-rise buildings, there is no doubting the way the area has been transformed in the last few decades, and Quintain Living will be eager to continue this evolution further in the future.