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CN Briefing: Interserve; Sellar Property Group; insolvencies; ducks; housing estates; Asian investors

It can be nerve-wracking walking into an office on your first day and seeing unfamiliar faces staring back at you expectantly.

Even more so, when the people you’re going to be working with are close friends who have worked together for years. Or perhaps experienced pros who seem wary of you, the young upstart.

What if their work is known worldwide, has won them multiple awards, or has even redefined the very city you’re working in?

In this slightly cumbersome analogy Mace and Sellar Property Group are the close friends. Skanska is the employee brought into the company for its track record elsewhere.

Interserve is the new employee eager to impress - the third bidder looking to build a 180,000 sq ft resi tower being developed by Sellar Property Group, as we reveal today.

The tower will be in the shadow of Sellar and Mace’s Shard, a short walk from Skanska’s Heron Tower but a fair distance from Wanda One and Interserve’s One Nine Elms site.

Remember, we told you Interserve was entering London commercial property with a bang at Nine Elms in partnership with China State Construction Engineering Corporation?

Eyebrows were raised about that Nine Elms job, on which Interserve may be set for a baptism of fire working in JV with a Chinese firm on its debut UK scheme.

In its half-year accounts last year, the company said it wanted to “diversify its revenue sources” by expanding its property development capability.

Of course, it’s already doing a £200m major mixed-use scheme at Haymarket, but the need to diversify further is illustrated by its recent £15m profit warning, which was the result of exposure to the public sector and the new national living wage.

Now it’s going it alone with one of London’s more famous developers.

It is a bold move which could propel Interserve into both the minds of the public and of high(er) profile clients.

It would also be a job with a demanding client who is used to a certain way of working and knows what he wants. And high profile jobs in an area of London that can be hell for commuters tend to be subject to intense scrutiny.

Could the London property landscape be witnessing the birth of a significant new player? Watch this space…

Got 5 minutes?

Good news: Construction insolvencies are at their lowest point on record.

Bad news: Our prime minister’s appetite for building may be on the wane after a disastrous attempt in Iceland.

Got longer?

Read our latest sector analysis on what to consider when taking on the regeneration of housing estates.

Deputy news editor Robyn Wilson asks why the appetite among Asian investors for UK schemes shows no signs of slowing

Or why not read our interview with Irvine Sellar from earlier this year. For the day that’s in it.


Sign up to our breaking news alerts for an update on the National Infrastructure Commission early tomorrow morning.

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