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Amato leaves Chinese big hitter after just 10 months

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Dalian Wanda’s UK development director Peter Amato has left the organisation only 10 months after taking up the position.

Amato’s unexpected exit comes as work is due to get under way on the Chinese developer’s debut UK project – the £900m One Nine Elms development in Battersea.

As first revealed by the AJ’s sister publication Construction News last month, the scheme will be built by a UK-Chinese joint venture featuring Interserve and China State Construction Engineering Corporation.

The JV saw off competition from Mace and a China State-Atkins JV to bag the landmark deal, which will feature high-value residential units and a luxury hotel.

Amato joined Dalian Wanda last July from Qatari Diar when the Chinese company put together its leadership team to deliver the project.

A Dalian Wanda spokesperson confirmed Amato’s exit and added that the process to appoint a successor was under way.

Interview with Peter Amato in the AJ, October 2014.

Tell us something about where you’ve come from.
Reading University graduate and chartered surveyor with over 20 years of experience. Particularly focused on high-end luxury residential development, including St Botolphs; Chelsea Barracks, American Embassy and the Shell Centre redevelopment.

How would you describe Wanda and what it hopes to achieve?
From its modest start in 1988, Wanda has become one of the leading commercial property organisations in the world. It has diversified extensively from residential into hotels and leisure; entertainment; commercial and department stores. It has the capital base to support major and long-term investment initiatives.

What kind of schemes is the company currently working on?
Predominantly mixed-use developments either within regeneration zones or through standalone sites, typically involving residential and hospitality. An example is KPF’s One Nine Elms, which will be one of the tallest residential blocks in London and will include Wanda’s first 5-star luxury hotel brand outside of mainland China.

What’s next?
Our chairman Wang Jianlin has committed to a significant investment in the UK over the next five years. .

What do you want from an architect?
Given the size and pace of Wanda’s schemes, we would typically be attracted to established architectural firms that have the capacity and capability and are adaptable to working within a multicultural environment.

Are you currently looking for new talent?
As we acquire new developments there will be opportunities. Ordinarily we would prequalify and invite suitable candidates to competition.

What would you most like the government to do for you?
There is a growing swell of opinion that the planning system should be streamlined. We would also encourage local authorities to become more creative in unlocking and delivering borough-wide land/housing stock.

Which regeneration scheme most inspires you and why?
Playing a key role in Nine Elms, one of the largest transformational areas in Europe and the most significant in London, is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. The area will boast housing, employment, a 4.5ha linear park and two new tube stations.

Who has given you the best advice and what was it?
At one of [developer] Stuart Lipton’s seminars he mentioned that good design doesn’t have to cost more money.

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