28 February 2020
Edward Street Quarter is a mixed-use development that’s being built by developers, First Base, in Brighton. Comprising six buildings – Grade A office space, 168 affordable and private residential units, leisure and retail space and a public realm – the development’s destined for the former Amex House site.
As with all developments of this scale and complexity, Edward Street Quarter involves multiple parties with their own requirements, working together across different blocks and shared areas on the same site. Keen to deliver on their vision and ensure the scheme delivers from a practical and commercial perspective, First Base have appointed us to provide them with consultancy on several aspects of the development.
As experienced property managers, with a breadth of knowledge that extends beyond traditional block management, we play a vital role in helping developers make sure their buildings operate well and can be managed effectively for the long-term.
Service charge consultancy
We were originally asked by First Base to advise them on service charges, which involved us conducting financial modelling to determine if the operational costs were viable.
“We analysed every single element, from providing estimates for getting the windows cleaned and providing security, to speaking to suppliers and other parties about the financial implications of their operations and how they would impact the overall service charge cost,” explains Paul Atkinson, our Operations Director responsible for client consultancy.
“For instance, not having an on-site concierge team will bring service charge costs down, but then how will parcels and security be managed and what will the impact be on the customer experience? We need to help our clients find the solution that best suits their experiential and commercial requirements.”
Developing a management strategy
As part of the planning conditions, First Base are required to develop a management strategy which they’ve asked us to create with them.
While we’d already developed a very good initial understanding of the site as a result of our service charge consultancy work, it was crucial we fully understood First Base’s vision for the development. We sat down with their Head of Asset Management and their Design Manager to discuss the plans, including the opportunities and challenges they face.
“One of the complexities at Edward Street Quarter is the fact there are four different organisations involved with managing the one development,” explains Paul.
“We’re advising First Base on the potential ways in which all parties can collaborate and we’re building this into the estate management plan. Ultimately each party will operate their own building but meet regularly and work together for the benefit of the whole development and wider community.”
First Base also want the residential blocks to be tenure blind, so we’re drawing on our previous experience managing multiple tenures to advise them on how best to achieve this.
Considering the customer
We’re considering all of the key practical factors that are involved in managing buildings, from car parking strategies to the design of the bin store, with the customer experience always front of mind. Another example is looking at how security will be managed at the development.
“Working with the Design Manager, we’re looking at how CCTV systems will operate across the mixed tenure development, taking into account commercial and residential customer journeys, camera locations and where security staff will view the feeds,” explains Paul.
Our work with First Base is currently on-going. We’ve established the framework of the management strategy and are now working closely with them to finalise all of the different elements involved.
Nicola Marks, Head of Asset Management at First Base, said: “FirstPort has enabled us to look at the most effective management techniques and assess the impact of our design decisions on the service charge. Their consultancy services have provided us with early effective guidance on the design, legal structures and implications for the effective long-term management of Edward Street Quarter.”