REDD Meets: Henry Lester, Head of Investment

Henry, you’ve been at REDD since its inception, which project are you most excited to have been involved with?

For me, it’s great when we see a project from inception, usually from site finding, to completion and then on to sale. When I joined REDD we were straight into acquiring what is now 82 Mount Street, a great investor success story, we acquired the site, secured planning and under directive, following our analysis, exited. From my perspective, it’s great when you can tangibly see and complete the full investment cycle, delivering true investor returns.

82 Mount Street however did mean we didn’t get to deliver the finished product to market and really flex our capabilities in the delivery, but I’m excited for 7 Charles Street, which is on site currently and coming to market this autumn (watch this space!).

REDD from inception has been about high-end real estate best in its class and I think this is typified in our acquiring One Palace Green on Kensington Palace Gardens. Secured during the height of the pandemic against the odds (with Russell meeting the seller in Hyde Park to negotiate) to have development of this scale and calibre on the books at this stage in the business, is indicative of the REDD commitment to shaping the environment of London’s prime landscape.

What do you think is driving the London residential development market at present? Where is the opportunity in high end real estate in London?

It’s great to see that London’s cultural economic soft power has not diminished and this jubilant summer we’re experiencing is bringing international buyers and investors back to the capital. There’s a high level of demand for well executed houses and apartments in the prime addresses. On the site finding and acquisition side of things, there are opportunities across the neighbourhoods, but it’s a question of timing and market movement. Our investors value our prudent, considered, and analytical approach to the site-finding process. It's true we’ve been in calmer political waters than we are now, but with meticulous management and time, opportunities are frequent.

REDD also operates across London, we’re opportunity-led within the high-end development space, not being stuck to one area means we can move quickly and acquire true opportunities.

If there was one part of the REDD service offering, you wish investors knew more about what would it be?

Our service offering is twofold – we provide both a fully integrated and complete property investment and development solution for investors seeking ROI, and in a private client capacity (an end user) we realise residential projects they wish to live in. Our service list is the same across the two client pools.

What has maybe been misunderstood in the past is who we provide this to. My job is to link London’s best residential development opportunities with investors – both new and existing. Our doors are open to new investors looking for those opportunities. Mark Tredwell, my colleague, and his development team then realise development potential for those investors.

On the private client home side of REDD, it is developing on behalf of a client in the South of France, is there anywhere or any type of project you’d like to see REDD take on?

I’m a huge fan of the mountains, so it would be exciting to work with a client on an alpine chalet. I know Russell and the team have experience in alpine real estate and it would be great to work on a project in the alps.

In your downtime, how and where do you like to spend it?

Other than the mountains, you’ll probably find me in, on or beside the river. My wife and I are lucky to live in Richmond, with a beautiful stretch of the Thames where I kayak, row and swim, as well as running the towpaths. Our two-year-old is just getting to the stage where we can strap her into a bike seat and start cycling the towpaths too, which is special.