We do things differently and we’re prepared to shake things up

25 September, 2017

Kiran Pawar joined HB Reavis in 2017 as Development Director for the UK. He is responsible for leading the development management team and for overseeing the expansion of the development portfolio in London.  Trained as an architect, Kiran previously worked for Land Securities and was involved in high-profile projects including 20 Fenchurch Street and One New Change.

What makes HB Reavis different from other commercial property developers?

We don’t just work in silos, we offer a fully integrated model in-house which is unusual. Rather than relying solely on external advice, we have our own in-house expertise across various disciplines. This means even at the early acquisition stage when we’re buying the site, we’re already thinking how we’re going to build it and who the customer will be.

How is the workplace changing?

There used to be a one-size fits all solution and there was a spec’ you could drop in, safe in the knowledge that this is what occupiers wanted. But it’s not like that any more – it’s all about the end-user and their experience.  This means we have to engage closely with our future customers’ needs. Part of this is understanding that the hard line between work life and home life has blurred. We need to think about ‘wellness’, social space and amenities like shops and cafés to create spaces that help employers attract the best talent.

HB Reavis is already operating in five European cities, including Bratislava, Prague and Berlin. What’s attractive about London especially with Brexit looming ?

We’re always had ambitions to come to London and we’re excited by the property market and the challenges it offers. Of course, it has very well established companies but there are areas where we think we have a competitive advantage because we do things differently and we’re prepared to shake things up.

Brexit does leave a degree of uncertainty about London’s future as Europe’s leading financial centre and it’s important our government negotiates a deal that retains access to EU markets. But London will keep re-inventing itself and there will always be new sectors, like Fintech, wanting to move closer to the City. We have a long-term commitment to the London market and continue to see London as a diverse global talent hub and a highly desirable place to live, work and play.

What’s your ambition for HB Reavis’s next wave of London projects ?

As developers, we’re keen to repair the public realm in and around our buildings and help rectify the damage done by post-war development. In the past developers have had a very one-dimensional view and didn’t look much beyond the red line boundary of their sites. By looking at the wider surroundings and investing in the area we’re also adding value – the building and local area becomes more attractive to occupiers – so there’s no reason not to do it.

What do you want to get out of the Architect Pitch?

We want an architect who can think about how terraces can be used in new and different ways and not just in the summer. We’re open minded but we know how much people value high quality amenity space with amazing views, because of buildings like 20 Fenchurch Street and its Sky Garden. We’re looking for new ideas that align with our ethos around ‘wellness’ and that will provide remarkable experiences for our end-users.

You trained as an architect. How does that affect your thinking about property development?

I began my career working as an architect but I prefer being at the front end of project delivery and influencing how sites are developed. For my role, architecture is a great background to have and I enjoy having contact with lots of practices with differing approaches. We’re also keen not just to stick to the same architects – we’re open-minded about who we use and like to go for whoever we feel is right for the particular site in question. 

The Architect Pitch will be at MIPIM UK on October 18th