Stirling Ackroyd interviewed one of London’s leading developers, Henry Smith of Aitch Group, who has been integral to the changing skyline of the East End.
Henry founded Aitch Group in 1995 and has been developing land to provide residential and commercial properties since then. He has gained a wealth of experience, working alongside Local Authorities and Registered Providers of affordable housing in a number of regeneration areas across London and the South East. This also extends to the provision of affordable workspace to create much-needed commercial units to provide accommodation for seed corn businesses.
How did you start in the East End, when and what attracted you to the area?
I was born in the East End therefore an understanding and interest began from a young age. I started by acknowledging there was a lot of antiquated stock offering huge potential for improvement and realised there was a market.
Compared to West London, the East End was the “poorer relation” which could be developed into what it is today.
How have you seen the area change?
The area has changed immensely. The City has pushed out and this had a knock on effect on demand for both residential and commercial space.
How do you think the East End will change over the next 10 years?
Although the East End has already seen significant change, there is clearly still room for plenty more. It is already accepted as an equal to West London and with areas such as Islington & Hackney now gentrified, the next 10 years will see further areas of growth, for example in Hackney Wick & Bow, following in the same vein.
Where would you advise on an Investment hotspot?
Hackney Wick being located city side of booming Stratford.