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Meet the developer: Michela Hancock, Greystar

Wed 1st February 2017, 1:27 pm

Greystar is the largest operator of rental housing in the United States and operates in 160 markets worldwide: what brings it to Sitematch London? Michela Hancock, UK multifamily development director, responds

What is Greystar?

Greystar is a fully integrated real estate company that specialises in rental housing. We only do rental housing, whether it students’ accommodation, multifamily or retirement.

Our headquarters are in Charleston, South Carolina. We are the largest operator of rental housing in the United States, managing around 400,000 rental units in 160 markets worldwide.

We entered the UK market in 2013 and aspire to be one of the country’s largest operators, with a target of 10,000 rental units within four years.

On what projects is the company currently working in Britain?

We have two multifamily developments under way: Greenford in Ealing and Sailmakers in Canary Wharf.

Greenford is the first residential scheme in the UK to be designed as a multifamily development from the beginning.

The 8.2-ha site will provide 1,439 homes for rent and 526 for sale, along with shared community facilities such as rooftop gardens, gyms and courtyards. It is a very exciting opportunity and we have been very lucky to be able to do that.

Sailmakers is a mixed-use development located on the south quay of Canary Wharf. It will provide 327 multifamily apartments and 1,500sq m of amenity space.

What sets Greystar apart from other organisations in the sector?

We programme our developments from the beginning to be for the rental sector. We have a property management team that is fully dedicated to managing each of our buildings, so they get to know the local community and the businesses in the area.

It is about quality and it is about providing a great service to residents: we are long term, we are not just developing to rent out; we care about the community and we care about delivering a long lasting product.

We basically have an on-site team. If residents need to speak with someone, they do not need a phone call, because the team is there.

We are trying to persuade people of the advantages of living in a place like this.

Why should people rent rather than buying a property?

We are not saying that everyone should rent, or that renting is the only way. But it is also important to understand that for the way many people live today they want flexibility, they want to live somewhere and then be able to move somewhere else without being tied to ownership.

We are providing an option, a good quality option, creating a community feel, a place where people feel at home.

How do you think your participation in Sitematch London will benefit Greystar?

With our target of delivering 10,000 units in four years, working with local authorities and building a good relationship with them is crucial.

We are looking to talk about how we can unlock new opportunities and explain what we would like to do in the UK.

Sitematch is an amazing event. I went last year and I really enjoyed it. We had three follow-up meetings and established good working relationships, which is why we are taking part again this year. 

The more developers take part in Sitematch, the more they see it is worthwhile. By going, we also want to set an example, put emphasis on the importance of working with local authorities.

 

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