Running a business is about breaking down problems and finding the deal

If you’re running a business – no matter the field – you’re going to be surrounded by competition. And chances are, unless you’ve made the first move, what they’re doing is going to be similar; it’s up to you to stand-out, and the best way to do that is to look at the problem, find the obstacles others may not have even seen and find the deal that makes them go away.

An engineer by training, I like to take an ‘outside the box’ approach, and in terms of West Eleven, that’s meant looking at sites on the periphery of high value areas – a tactic which has come to define us as a company. When it came to choosing the site for our latest development, we understood that Battersea Park was already a well-established area with iconic mansion blocks bordering the Park and future development, led by the landmark Battersea Power Station. However, we also understood that this popularity would mean a surge in land prices in the short term and a crowded marketing environment in the long term.

Our solution? Look for a site close by, create a connection to the Park and add a little something extra; enter The View, Battersea Park.

Of course, these things never come easy. The council had provided a planning brief for nine units over three floors in an area zoned for a maximum of five stories. We had the intention of building something much more significant, something that really lent itself to the site. The answer to this conundrum was to find the ‘deal’.

First, we looked at the community surrounding the site, knowing their support was integral in striking a compromise. As it turned out, the local school was in desperate need of capital and funding to repair the fabric of the building. We are now providing the school with a brand-new Sports England compliant four court hall and a cash injection for capital improvements. We also restructured our development to include affordable housing reserved for the school’s teachers.

The result of our willingness to work with – and for – the local community was planning permission for a 15 storey and 39-unit mixed-use building, making The View a true skyline changer and a landmark in its own right. By owning our process and traversing barriers others wouldn’t, we were able to unlock value for our future residents, our investors, and the community. 

Dominic Philcox