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BioRegional Quintain to close doors

Super-green developer BioRegional Quintain will wind up its operations once its FAT-designed 80-home Communtiy in a Cube housing block at Middlehaven completes next month

The decision marks the end of a six-year-old collaboration between property developers Quintain Estates and environmental charity BioRegional and throws doubt over the future phases of the huge £200 million waterside Middlehaven regeneration project in Middlesbrough, originally masterplanned by Will Alsop (2004).

Quintain has said it now intends to focus on its core development business in London - namely Greenwich and Wembley.

Charles Holland at FAT admitted the announcement would mean its cube-shaped apartment block was likely to be the only building on the site ‘to be completed for a while’. Under the existing masterplan overseen by Studio Egret West and backed by the Homes and Community Agency, the ‘desolate’ waterfront plot will become home to 750 housing units, 18,500m2 of offices, and 2,300m2 of retail.

Ian Taylor, partner at Feilden Clegg Bradley Studio who worked on the developer’s One Brighton development said: ‘[BioRegional Quintain’s] potential projects appear to have been held hostage by various UK barriers to more radical sustainable development thinking: local political planning processes, and central government policy changes have conspired with current economic uncertainties to derail one of the country’s most far sighted and committed development groups.

Their longer term view is needed. I wish the team future success in their new ventures.

He added: ‘Their commitment to setting new standards in building design, construction and management has been exemplary, and this enthusiasm for applying the One Planet Living values to all aspects of the development cycle has led to a project which seriously challenges previously accepted methodologies and standards – ranging from the quality and sourcing of site canteen food to their commitment to post occupancy evaluation of the completed apartments.’

It is understood BioRegional Quintain’s chief executive Pete Halsall will leave the company to set up a new venture.

The official statement:

Quintain Estates has confirmed that it intends to focus on its core development business in London and regrettably has to withdraw from supporting BioRegional Quintain. While this news is disappointing we would stress that it has no impact on the ongoing work of the BioRegional charity.

BioRegional Development Group was instrumental in setting up the joint venture in 2005 and we are extremely proud of its achievements. The One Brighton development, completed in 2010 with Crest Nicholson, has set a new benchmark in environmental performance as well as achieving excellent sales.

Sue Riddlestone, BioRegional’s Chief Executive and co-founder said: ‘BioRegional Quintain has taken sustainable community development in the UK another huge step forward by building communities which enable residents to achieve truly sustainable or “one planet” living within the normal range of build costs. This is helping to transform the industry. In these difficult economic times, it is nonetheless very encouraging that Quintain have said that it will take the lessons from projects like One Brighton and embed sustainability into its mainstream business.  We will continue to work with the industry more widely to develop leading sustainability solutions and are and we are actively pursuing opportunities to work with developers and investors in the UK and overseas.’

Quintain’s decision is a result of a fundamental review of their business, and a strategic decision to focus on development in London, concentrating on major developments in Wembley and Greenwich. What has been made clear is that Quintain is both proud of the relationship with BioRegional, and of the leading sustainable developments in Brighton and Middlesbrough. It says it is committed to taking the learning from One Brighton and Riverside One into their mainstream business.

BioRegional Quintain’s work has proved the viability of cost-effective sustainable community development, and while Quintain’s decision is obviously disappointing, BioRegional is not exposed to financial risk.

Pete Halsall, Chief Executive of BioRegional Quintain said: ‘BioRegional Quintain has demonstrated the tremendous potential for sustainable development, especially with the highly successful ‘One Brighton’ project. The economic climate means that Quintain has to focus on its core portfolio right now but this kind of development, based on genuine sustainability, is absolutely still the future. I am going to focus on carrying on and indeed advancing much needed ‘deep green’ development.’

BioRegional Quintain Ltd was originally formed as a joint venture between Quintain Estates and BioRegional Properties (a limited company in which the charity, BioRegional Development Group, is a shareholder). Following a restructuring in 2010 the charity is a deferred shareholder in BioRegional Quintain Ltd, which in turn is a licencee of the BioRegional name owned by BioRegional Development Group.

 

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