Here, PIT speaks to Danielle Bayless, chief operating officer at Quintain Living - who joined the company during the rebrand last year with 30 years of operating in the US multifamily sector under her belt - for her thoughts on why the rebrand was necessary, what impact Covid-19 has had on the BTR market and what the main property trend of 2021 will be.
How has the rebrand from Tipi (very distinctive and well-known) to Quintain Living gone? Do people realise they are the same thing?
We launched and grew our business under the Tipi brand for four years but Quintain was always one family, from the architects, designers, planners, marketeers, leasing agents and finance teams. The move to Quintain Living made such sense to us as a business and this has resonated through to our residents and marketing campaigns.
Our business is coming of age and Quintain Living represents our diverse offer as the company has developed and now needs to reach a far broader audience to align with our growing and diverse range of assets.
We still own the Tipi name and all roads lead to Rome and our marketing team has done a wonderful job ensuring anyone interested in Tipi is led to Quintain Living. The rebrand has also been extremely well-received across the industry.
Why was the decision made to rebrand Tipi, given it made a big impact from a marketing point of view and was one of the most recognisable names in the BTR market?
Quintain’s development at Wembley Park will, on completion, be the single largest site of BTR in the UK. The diversity of product on offer at Wembley Park means we have to appeal to a broad and more mature audience. As a business, driving closer synergies between our development and resident-facing teams is our single biggest strategic advantage.
Bringing the different teams in line, as one family, it signals our intent to strengthen the feedback loop between our residents all the way through to our architects and designers of future buildings and amenities as well as the wider estate and retail leasing provision; allowing us to deliver against our aim to champion a superior resident experience. This is where we will win now and in the future.
Tipi was quite revolutionary - and arguably a tad provocative - early on. Has that now been toned down as QL looks to appeal to a wider demographic of renters?
The consumer-led challenger approach that the business created in the marketplace is still front and centre at Quintain Living, but you will see less of it in our marketing campaigns. It’s a state of mind as much as anything.
By listening to our residents and market developments, we’re constantly challenging ourselves around what it takes to create a rental experience that our residents love to be part of.
What will be the main property trend of 2021, do you believe?
Localism and the 15-minute neighbourhood. Lockdown has reaffirmed the importance of neighbourhoods immensely – that sense of being part of a community of people who look out for each other hasn’t felt so important for years, if not decades.
Quintain has always held the 15-minute neighbourhood concept at the heart of our design and commercial leasing strategy for Wembley Park. Quintain Living uses resident events, technology and partners to curate and connect people with this idea, in novel and lasting ways.
Wembley Park is one of London’s most creative neighbourhoods, with a carefully curated community of independent and artisan restaurants, retailers and recreation spaces. Many of these have reached out digitally to nurture the local community during lockdown and we see this as a key trend over 2021.
Reports suggest BTR bounced back strongly after the first lockdown last year, and the sector is set for another strong year - does this tally with what you're seeing at QL?
The pandemic brought the vital importance of home into sharp focus. Space and a place to work, rest, exercise, sleep and eat. Strong demand is certainly there, to find a home with curated mix of spaces both indoor and out that meet the needs of those working from home with a service provision to match.
Our virtual viewing and leasing journey has been consistently available through lockdowns and we strived to make it simple for prospective residents to tour and explore our buildings online just as in person.
I am proud of our team who have facilitated a number of new leases and move-ins with residents who signed on the dotted line without an in-person viewing.
It’s a renter’s market, which means that those landlords offering the best in space, service, and amenities will be perfectly placed to capitalise on growing consumer confidence and increased demand from those tempted into rental through market uncertainty. So, 2021 should certainly be another strong year.
Have the new developments been built/adjusted with Covid in mind? Are tenants now looking for different things?
We are seeing increasing demand from single occupancy residents looking to boost their space, with a notable rise in two and three-bedroom apartment leases for this group. Additional space to use as a home office has never been such a valuable commodity.
With shared office amenities, private office/writing sheds and conference space available too, residents are definitely appreciating the chance to vary their working from home patterns to keep things interesting.
What we have also seen is a change in behaviour, with residents valuing our flexible outside spaces even more than they already did. Being able to practice yoga on the roof as the sun comes up, exercise around the Wembley Park area and exceptional engagement in our virtual events programme is doing wonders for residents’ mental and emotional resilience, as well as their physical wellbeing.
Can you tell us a bit more about QL's new buildings and the brand's pipeline as a whole?
Our newest buildings are Canada Gardens, Beton and Ferrum. Every building we deliver is unique, and these three really emphasise that.
Canada Gardens is an oasis of green in an urban setting. Our goal was to deliver a new kind of city living, so we’ve blended the best of cosy but contemporary home interiors with an acre of green space, a children’s playpark and even allotments. There is also a fully-equipped potting shed and greenhouse alongside work from home garden sheds and a wonderful library.
Beton is definitely our most stylish choice. It’s all clean lines, exposed concrete and distinctive colours. The furnished apartments are balanced by bold, bright soft furnishings and contemporary track lighting, while floor-to-ceiling windows fill them with light, I call it ‘sophisticated and funky’!
Beton’s social spaces are ‘broken plan,’ so they are both connected yet private. It means that residents have the privacy to work from home, watch a movie in the cinema room or socialise at the pool table. Beton’s roof terrace overlooking the Wembley Stadium arch is particularly special.
Ferrum, meanwhile, is just effortlessly cool. Think Brooklyn loft combined with London lifestyle. The apartments blend bold pops of colour with exposed brick and concrete for a meticulous industrial design, while the social spaces include a state-of-the-art gym, gardens with BBQs and dining areas, a large residents’ lounge and awesome rooftop areas.
Future buildings will continue this emphasis on unique social spaces and homes in which renters love to live offering studio apartments up to four-bedroom homes.
How many rental homes does QL currently have and how many more will there be by the end of 2021?
Quintain Living currently have 2,416 homes under management and this will rise to approximately 3,300 by the end of 2021.
Lastly, will the fallout from Brexit have an impact on tenant demand? In London, in particular, a large number of Europeans would have rented pre-Brexit - will that still be possible now?
We have always appealed to and served a broad international clientele which will not change for Europeans joining that demographic group post-Brexit. There may be a different paperwork process, but they will continue to be a valued resident group and welcomed into Wembley Park.