Interview: Irvine Sellar at Sitematch
Wed 11th February 2015, 12:35 pm
At Sitematch London 2015, the Sitematch London team had a chance to catch up with Irvine Sellar, founder and chairman of the Sellar Property Group.
Why did you feel it was important to be at Sitematch London?
I was interested in how Sitematch works and think it is a very sensible idea to bring together developers and local authorities who have land that is not properly utilised, or should be better utilised. It makes sense for any local authority to encourage inward investment, so the reason I am here today is to find out how they can achieve this. I have had experience with quite a few local authorities and if you understand the subject properly and have clear plans you can link and connect with the right people in local government.
How does Sitematch speed up the process of matching public sector organisations with developers?
I think it is about knowledge. It is about understanding the public sector and what it is trying to achieve. These organisations are matched with developers that have the capabilities and financial resources to carry out development plans and help the public sector achieve their goals.
What should the public sector be doing to better support development?
Again it is about knowledge. The public sector should have a good understanding about what it is looking to achieve, and what is in the best interest of the electorate. It is also obviously important for them to have a good understanding on the subject, and who within the organisation has the skills and capabilities to carry out projects like infrastructure, schools and hospitals.
Where do you stand in the debate for extra runways at Heathrow and Gatwick?
I believe it is essential for London that Heathrow has a third runway and Gatwick a second runway. In order for London to maintain its global status we need to ensure our transportation services match this position as we are at risk of falling behind other nations that can offer more modern airport facilities.
What can we expect next from Irvine Sellar?
We have not yet fully completed the London Bridge Quarter. The Shard is obviously the pinnacle of this development, but there is also the News Building, which is the headquarters of News Corp. Just before Christmas we have received planning consent for a third tower. This will be a residential development, and also designed by Renzo Piano. And that is not it, we have a number of other properties within the immediate vicinity of London Bridge Quarter that will be developed over the coming years, with the objective to create an entirely new neighborhood for London Bridge Quarter.
I am actually not interested in topping The Shard, I am more interested in other types of development. We have recently tied up a deal in Paddington to buy the Royal Mail Post office site. The area has great transport links with the District, Central and Bakerloo underground lines, nearby Heathrow and future Crossrail. We are planning something that is quite stunning, and not dissimilar to what we have achieved in the London Bridge Quarter.