While it has only been in operation for little over a year, Manchester-based Domis Property Group has truly hit the floor sprinting thanks to the experience and know-how of the team behind its creation. With a growing pipeline of projects, the company already looks like being part of an exciting movement within the north-west as a wave of new forward-thinking property businesses begin to make their mark.
“It’s still relatively early days but the process so far has both met and exceeded expectations,” explains Lee McCarren, Managing Director. “From the outset we’ve looked to instil a fresh approach to construction by bringing in the best people available in order to develop a boutique operating model that allows us to support every aspect of the development journey with authenticity and precision to deliver living space that inspires. From concept to construction, we recognise the value of promoting partnering relationships with people and organisations who share our passion for service excellence and outstanding quality.”
This brave approach has only been possible thanks to the high level of commitment from the partners behind the business, which includes Fred Done, co-creator of the Betfred bookmaking chain; Simon Ismail, who is also a director of Salboy International and Citu NQ Management; as well as Mr McCarren, who is former CEO of Forrest, Kingsley Thornton, Director; Danny Flynn, Commercial Director; and Sarah McCarren, Director. “Fred and Simon have the desire to retain a level influence and control over the construction side of things and that is where we came in,” adds Mr Thornton. “The relationship is strong and it works. Everyone is committed to the same cause of creating quality build projects rather than outsourcing construction management to another contractor. There is an element of in-house delivery and we have the team to provide that. We have got a couple of projects underway with Factory Estates, which is part of Fred Done and Simon Ismail’s stable, and other opportunities are coming through all the time. We have a healthy pipeline approaching £300m in value and to reach this point from what was effectively a standing start has been nothing short of phenomenal.”
“From the outset we’ve looked to instil a fresh approach to construction by bringing in the best people available in order to develop a boutique operating model that allows us to support every aspect of the development journey with authenticity and precision to deliver living space that inspires. From concept to construction, we recognise the value of promoting partnering relationships with people and organisations who share our passion for service excellence and outstanding quality.”
Lee McCarren, Managing Director
This almost instant success hasn’t come about by accident with a tremendous amount of hard work helping the business capitalise on the growing number of opportunities that are emerging thanks to Manchester’s ongoing resurgence. “Years and years of graft and determination, even prior to the creation of Domis Property Group, has been absolutely essential to the progress we’ve been able to make already,” outlines Mr McCarren. “None of us are new to this. We have done it with other other companies previously, learning and honing our trade in the process. The culmination of this experience has been the creation of Domis, which is an amalgam of all of the best elements of the other companies we’ve been involved in. It’s all about doing things differently to everybody else in terms of the quality we deliver and our performance.
“Ultimately it’s about being ‘best in class’ and setting up a business that operates at the very top end of the spectrum in an authentic way. There is a growing demand for such an approach and we’re keen to cater for this need by offering a viable alternative to more established businesses that have become overly set in their ways.”
To put its money where its mouth is, Domis has been working hard to build a team of the calibre needed to deliver its objectives. As a consequence, it has pulled out all the stops to bring in established talent into the business, recruiting experienced individuals from the likes of Kier, Laing and McAlpine to give it the pedigree it is looking for.
“We are major advocates of opportunity for everybody that works with us and the way that we look after our employees is different to the rest of the marketplace,” says Mr Thornton. “For example, our onsite facilities are amongst the best available within the construction sector. We have restaurants onsite, we have got Sky TV onsite and we spend a substantial amount on the well-being of our people. This is another area that sets us apart and which is allowing us to attract high quality staff. We are also strong believers in giving mutual respect to everyone that works with Domis and we get that back in a reciprocal way.
“Having a happy workforce is essential to enjoying the journey involved in developing a quality product. Central to this is honesty, transparency and authenticity. Collectively our approach to the business is not just about the money, it is about the quality of the end product and making sure all the elements are right so that the client is happy at the end of the day. This hands-on offering seems to be striking a chord in the marketplace with a lot of people, as well as providing a nice segue into the overall Manchester market and the high rate of expansion it has been seeing. There hadn’t been that many new entrants to the market post-recession but in the last couple of years we’ve seen the likes of Gary Neville’s company emerge and the growth of Renaker. It’s great to be part of that new cohort that is taking on the old guard. There’s a growing feeling that there’s a new wave of people coming through as part of an evolution that’s taking place.”
Underlining the progress that Domis has already been able to make, it pushing ahead with four major projects in excess of 1,200 units with a further 2,000 in the planning process. One particularly substantial scheme involves the next level in luxury city living, Local Blackfriars, which is a gated community comprising 380 apartments, townhouses and penthouses across two striking towers.
Providing light, refreshing, well-crafted living space the community will encompass a gym, café, cinema, launderette, garden and workspace. There will also be a landscaped piazza area in between the two blocks that covers a basement car park housing 28 spaces and refuse area. The development will also look to house both retail and office accommodation.
“Having a happy workforce is essential to enjoying the journey involved in developing a quality product. Central to this is honesty, transparency and authenticity. Collectively our approach to the business is not just about the money, it is about the quality of the end product and making sure all the elements are right so that the client is happy at the end of the day.”
Kingsley Thornton, Director
With 2018 now upon us, Domis is keen to ramp up the momentum even further to capitalise on its growing reputation and the increasing opportunities that are popping up across Manchester. “The aim for the next 12 months is to keep progressing as we have been doing and secure additional projects on the board by getting more key clients and carrying out some development work of our own across a mixed portfolio,” says Mr McCarren. “We don’t want to be stereotyped in just one type of product, as we’re keen to expand our repertoire and ability to take on a wide range of different projects. Looking longer term, we have schemes in place for the next three years so we have a nice buffer zone that will allow us the time to secure more projects of the type that we’re looking for.
“There will be many exciting opportunities that will undoubtedly come up in the next five to six years but the time and hard work we spend now on developing our infrastructure is invaluable as it will allow us to be at the forefront when these projects become available. It’s all about continuing to put the foundations and the building blocks in place to make our hopes become a reality.”
Having covered so much ground already, it’s clear that Domis will be a name to watch in 2018 as its fresh approach enables it to increase its influence within the north-west property market.