Regeneration specialist Urban Splash Group Holdings has seen turnover jump by £7m and confirmed it will continue with its redevelopment of the Melville building in Plymouth’s Royal William Yard.
Releasing its annual results for the financial year ending September 30, 2020, the Manchester-headquartered firm revealed a 22% increase in turnover – with £39.4m of sales leading to a retained profit of £900,000..
The company also recorded an increase in the value of its tangible fixed assets, which now exceed £100m. This represents a £5m growth on the prior year.
The results – the first since the demerger of Urban Splash’s modular housing business in 2019 – account for the group’s activity in managing a 1,000,000sq ft commercial investment portfolio, as well as its non-MMC (modern methods of construction, in effect non-modular buildings) developments across the country including the restoration of buildings such as Avro in Manchester and the Melville in Plymouth.
Construction work restarted on the renovation of the Royal William Yard building in May 2020 after it was disrupted by the first Covid lockdown.
Already some of the vast pile, a central part of the Grade I listed Victorian former naval victualling yard, has been developed. The Steel Brew Co micro brewery opened on the ground floor in 2020 and space has already been reserved for a boutique Everyman cinema and a water-facing restaurant run by Cornwall-headquartered Hubbox.
In April 2021, a new coworking company BLOCK revealed plans to open in the Melville building, bringing with it a café, bar, and fitness and events space as part of a new way of working post-pandemic.
Looking to the year ahead, Urban Splash said it will continue to invest in its commercial portfolio, as well as moving forward on non-MMC developments including Melville, one of the last buildings to be redeveloped by the company at the Royal William Yard.
As well as joint venture partnerships on large scale neighbourhoods, the Urban Splash will also continue to fund smaller scale developments from shareholder equity with conservative levels of third-party debt, the firm said.
Reflecting on “a solid set of results in a difficult period”, Urban Splash chairman Tom Bloxham said: “I am proud to record these results, which demonstrate our resilience as a business. Even in the context of an unpredictable macro environment, the efforts of our colleagues across the country mean that we are well positioned for the future.”
Urban Splash said it continued to nurture its commercial portfolio during the period – including the Matchworks in South Liverpool, where a six-figure investment created external spaces, breakout spaces, recreation areas, and a new indoor climbing and café venue.
The company’s swift response to the pandemic also mitigated the impact of lockdown on hundreds of commercial tenants, with a dedicated response team established to help tenants stay in their workspace throughout Covid restrictions.
The result was an increased revaluation of the commercial property portfolio of £3.1m (2019: £2.5m) and Mr Bloxham said: “ Many of our commercial customers across the country have suffered as a result of the unpredictable restrictions this year affecting their abilities to run offices, bars, restaurants and shops.
“I’m proud that in taking swift action, and demonstrating our customer-focused approach, we were often able to offer financial, marketing and business support to these companies – something which has helped take our occupation levels to historic highs.”
Urban Splash said other achievements in the year included the company’s appointment as a Northern Powerhouse partner, as well as continued investment in colleague wellbeing. The company also won 11 awards during the financial year; its total accolades now stand at 445.
Mr Bloxham said: “Our commitment to great design, our customers and our communities have helped us establish a resilient business. I am proud that, even against the backdrop of the pandemic, we can continue to work across the country in creating much needed new homes, workspaces and amazing places in which people can live, work and play.”
The results are the first to be published since Urban Splash demerged its modular housing business in 2019 and exclude House by Urban Splash activity. They also exclude activities from other areas of the Urban Splash family of businesses – including the Urban Splash Residential Fund.
Urban Splash was founded in 1993 by Mr Bloxham and creative director Jonathan Falkingham. The company has spent more than two decades working with architects and designers to restore old buildings and create new, sustainable communities.
Headquartered in Manchester, with regional bases in Liverpool, Leeds, Bristol, Sheffield, Cambridgeshire and Plymouth, the company has invested about £1bn creating more than 5,000 new homes and jobs in more than 2,000,000sq ft of commercial space.
It has won more 440 for delivering challenging regeneration projects including; Fort Dunlop in Birmingham, Chimney Pot Park in Salford, Castlefield and New Islington in Manchester, The Midland Hotel in Morecambe, Royal William Yard in Plymouth, Lister Mills in Bradford, Park Hill in Sheffield, Rotunda in Birmingham, Matchworks in South Liverpool and the Ropewalks in Liverpool.
Business Live’s South West Business Reporter is William Telford. William has more than a decade’s experience reporting on the business scene in Plymouth and the South West. He is based in Plymouth but covers the entire region.
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In 2016, Urban Splash launched House by Urban Splash, a range of customisable homes, created using MMC. Following a £90m deal in 2019, the House by Urban Splash business is now owned by Urban Splash, Japan’s biggest housebuilder Sekisui House, and Homes England.
In 2017, the Urban Splash Residential Fund was added to the Urban Splash family of businesses to create an institutional quality, UK-wide residential portfolio. The fund acquires design-led homes in urban regeneration areas across the UK – both through the Urban Splash pipeline and through opportunistic acquisitions. It currently manages 278 homes across six different Urban Splash neighbourhoods including in Manchester, Birmingham, Sheffield, Bradford and Bristol.
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