The people behind the projects: Kieran Grealis

All this week we’re focusing on the Industrial and Logistics (I&L) part of our business – a team that’s delivering more than 1.25m sq ft of new industrial space in 2023, with more schemes planned to commence later this year. Later this week our colleague Vivienne Clements will take us on an in-depth look at those schemes, but today we meet director and head of I&L projects Kieran Grealis who introduces us to the people behind our projects.

I’m really proud of the work HBD is doing in the I&L sector right now. Our 2023 development pipeline totals 1.25m sq ft, with a combined construction budget of almost £130m; our sites run the length and breadth of the country.  We are currently on site with 13 buildings / last year we delivered 17 buildings.

The power of people

The reason we can deliver at such scale is thanks to the brilliant people involved in delivering our I&L schemes.

For HBD, that means the inhouse team of project managers who operate across the country to help bring our ideas to fruition – colleagues like our senior project manager Mark Evans who is helping us deliver a 380,000 sq ft I&L scheme at Momentum in Rainham, Greater London. We’re working in partnership with Barings here to pioneer sustainability, with four high spec units that are expertly designed for low energy consumption and maximum efficiency.

Our colleagues in Birmingham are doing great things too; working nationally with our I&L project managers Adrian Chaima and Tom Matthews, the team is delivering our major new SPARK scheme in Walsall – the Black Country’s largest regeneration project.

SPARK is becoming a reality thanks to the people involved. Historically, it was a hugely challenging site with issues that would have turned a lot of other developers away, but we knew that with our team, supply chain and passions, that we’d be able to develop a viable vision. Two years on and we’re onsite transforming 44-acres into a modern new logistics and manufacturing hub.

Similar examples lie in Nottingham, where Tom Matthews is also leading on the 425,000 sq ft Power Park scheme.

Multiple minds

The efforts of our HBD people, coupled with the strength of our brand, means we can deliver great schemes like those above, but to upscale even further, we turn to the brilliant partners who help us overcome challenges and deliver great projects.

That includes organisations like Bowmer + Kirkland with whom we’re delivering Power Park, or in the North West our partner Barnfield whose head of development has praised the “contrasting strengths and collective skills” that boost our partnership. Among the schemes we are delivering with Barnfield is EAST in Preston; the 18-acre site is located along the M6’s key distribution corridor – ideal for logistics businesses like DPD who now operate here. Outlining their decision to move to EAST, DPD called it “the perfect hub”.

Working closely with our contractors and suppliers is incredibly important to us as we strive to create more sustainable, better designed I&L spaces that meet the future needs of occupiers. That means forward thinking suppliers like Readie Construction who are helping us deliver those high spec sustainability features at Rainham.

And, like DPD above, the most crucial audience is the occupier. It’s the audience from whom we learn the most, and we strive to engage to ensure that we shape our HBD places in line with what occupiers need. Our customers range from leading logistics companies to cutting edge manufacturers – brands like Kitwave, DHL and Great Bear We build great relationships with them from the start.

Our plans for the future

While we’re so proud of this progress and everything that’s been achieved so far, there’s still much to be done and we can only continue to deliver at scale through investing in our people – both internally and externally.

Within HBD that means continuing to invest in our I&L colleagues. I work alongside our executive director for I&L – Vivienne Clements – and   together we are prioritising enhancing our teams’ skills and promoting our unique workplace culture to attract more great people into the team.

We also hope to continue to broaden our supply chain and meet more great contractors and prospective development partners with whom we can share best practice to create great HBD places that work for all I&L occupiers for the long term.

And crucially, all this will help us grow our pipeline with even more great places.

Watch this space as we continue to expand our I&L offering.