Delivering the Right Projects, Better – in conversation with Ian Henderson, Head of Property Southampton

What does your job at ABP entail?
As part of my role, I manage the portfolio at Southampton port which includes Eling Wharf, Marchwood Industrial Estate and Solent Gateway. In addition, I oversee the central resources of masterplanning, property operations and building surveying within the business.

Whilst I ensure everything around day to day estate management goes smoothly, there is now great opportunity to bring new ideas and initiatives to how we maximise the value of the portfolio. In addition to this and with my central remit, I am influencing how the property portfolio is managed and maintained into the future. The highlight of the role has been bringing a new approach to how property is perceived within ABP.

What attracted you to ABP as a business?
There are many reasons I joined ABP. What stands out is the diversity of the portfolio with a vast range of property types and uses. This, together with the ambition and commitment to create a dynamic and forward-thinking property function, makes this a really exciting time to be part of the ABP team.

What three words best describe ABP’s culture?
Dynamic, responsive, inclusive.

What are the biggest changes you’ve seen at ABP since you joined?
The approach to property. It is now clearly understood that the Property function should be front and centre of the business with a consistent and dynamic decision-making process in place for all Property opportunities.

Tell us about your portfolio at Southampton.
The property portfolio, I look after is very diverse. For instance, Marchwood Industrial Estate spans over 120 acres, with 92 tenants, whilst the Port of Southampton  covers 755 acres and Eling Wharf – 41 acres.

We recently acquired Solent Gateway and are currently reviewing the use and layout of this area.

A range of uses which makes working collaboratively with Cruise, Engineering, Commercial etc very important. The Property team cannot work in isolation but must work collaboratively.

With my central role Masterplanning, Property Operations and Building Surveying all have to support the wider port portfolio both giving advice but also educating, influencing behaviours and setting strategy.

Talk us through your team – who are they, and how does what they do fit into the wider business?
My team consists of 13 professionals across a broad range of specialisms, including Masterplanning, Property Operations and Building Surveying.

Together, we manage the property portfolio including rent reviews, lease renewals, inspections, disposals, acquisitions and more.

The central teams influence behaviours, help upskill regional teams to enable them to become more self-sufficient, set strategy for their own specific area and work collaboratively to enable informed decisions.

What big changes are happening in your team right now?
We are experiencing a very exciting time at the moment with the optimisation of the property function and the creation of new roles. Our current focus will ensure we have the right resources, both internally and externally, to allow the company to make informed, timely decisions on property opportunities. We want to be doing the right projects better.

There is also a renewed strong focus on sustainability with the launch of our strategy, ‘Ready for Tomorrow‘, in February this year, which sets out our ambition to reach net zero from our own operations by 2040 at the latest.

What are ABP’s property strategy and ambitions, and how will the new hires support this?
These exciting new roles will support the delivery of our property strategy, ensuring appropriate property resource sits within each region to support informed decisions around the property portfolio, which in turn will drive greater value whether through new build or existing stock. These roles will include property asset management, estate management and development surveyors. These teams will be supported by central specialist functions such as master planning, building surveying and data analysis. This structure will ensure rapid informed decision making, consistency across the regions and optimum use of our property.

Contact Daniah Williams MRICS, Business Director – Real Estate, to learn more about working for ABP.

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