Five leading players in the world of residential property have come together to launch new venture Charlbury Group, a developer and property investment specialist focusing on land and planning opportunities in London and the South East.
Headed up by residential property developer and investor Richard Barth; Darius Ziatabari and Steffen Priller, founders of Equinox Living; Darryl Flay, former MD of Berkeley London and Founder/CEO of Essential Living; and Steven Morrice, former Executive Director of REIT McKay Securities, Charlbury Group will focus primarily on unconditional planning opportunities, including strategic land acquisition and urban planning plays leading to the development of residential-led mixed-use schemes in regeneration hotspots.
Bringing to the table significant expertise in realising development opportunities, the team will work hand in hand with joint venture, housebuilder and investor partners to bring developments to fruition. Where additional capital is required, Charlbury Group will co-venture with other developers, deploying its own private funds to help finance land and planning deals. The company also seeks to grow its own investment portfolio by retaining ownership of selected assets.
Advisory Partner Darryl Flay said: “The London property market is in a state of flux, with retail in sharp decline, work and lifestyle changes as a result of the pandemic, and Brexit around the corner. Yet significant change always brings about new opportunities. We’re optimistic about the long-term outlook and confident in the underlying value of London land and property.”
Co-Founder and Director Darius Ziatabari added: “The market is slowly shifting in favour of the buyer. The slowdown in construction over recent months will only serve to widen the gap between the supply of new homes and demand, helping underpin values. Many city high streets are ripe for transformation which is presenting new opportunities for residential-led schemes in exciting, sought-after locations.”
Charlbury Group has already exchanged on a significant potential planning deal in North Acton involving a new build scheme of over 200 apartments along with auxiliary commercial space. This Build to Rent development, due for completion in 2025 will bring further regeneration to North Acton where the Old Oak Common Station is set to become the best-connected train station in the UK.
Darryl Flay has held several senior roles at major companies including Commercial Director at Crest Homes Urban Regeneration, the first MD of Berkeley Homes London and, most recently, founder and CEO of Essential Living – the UK’s first Build to Rent company. During his 35-year career, Darryl has overseen the building of over 20,000 residential properties and over 1 million sq ft of commercial space. He won the Property Awards’ Property Entrepreneur of the Year in 2014 and sits on the development committee for the London Chamber of Commerce.
Richard Barth is an entrepreneur and property investor who incorporated his first property company in 2013, developing prime luxury homes in Surrey. Since then, he has built an enviable investment portfolio, undertaking joint ventures, planning opportunities and company acquisitions. Recent transactions include a 130,000 sq ft 14-storey commercial property in London.
Darius Ziatabari began his career at Citigroup’s global markets investment banking division before spending the past decade in residentially led property development. He co-founded Equinox Living, along with Steffen Priller, where they made use of office to residential Permitted Development legislation allowing the full planning through to build out of around 300 units.
Steffen Priller specialised in equity derivatives at Citigroup and was Head of Finance at Soane Capital before founding Tecta Capital in 2014, a property finance specialist providing structured funding for student accommodation developments. Along with Darius he co-founded Equinox Living overseeing high quality residential developments in Worcester Park, Wokingham, Bracknell, Luton and Witham.
Steven Morrice is a Chartered Surveyor with over 30 years’ experience in real estate development, asset management and property investment, with particular expertise in complex planning and development projects. He has held several senior roles at commercial property companies including Executive Director of REIT McKay Securities and Divisional Head at Laing Property, before gaining offshore experience operating in Jersey for international pension funds.