James Nicholson features in Deal Makerz’s Manchester Magnates
James Nicholson, Managing Director of Harlex Property, features in Deal Makerz’s Manchester Magnantes: Meet the Property Developers Changing the City, alongside Mohammed Khoy (Altin Homes) and Adam Price (Select Property Group). See below for James’ feature…
Harlex Property was formed in October 2017 by James Nicholson and Palmer Capital.
Nicholson has over twenty years property development experience across all asset classes. At the beginning of his career he worked in the development and asset management sectors with CLS Holdings in London. He then developed a wealth of knowledge and understanding of the property market in the North West as Development Director with Kier Property and prior to that Argent Estates.
PROJECTS PAST & PRESENT
Nicholson has managed the acquisition and delivery of a range of high profile development projects across the region. Within Manchester he has developed office schemes including One St. Peter’s Square, 81 Fountain Street and 11 York Street.
Harlex have recently exchanged contracts to purchase their first site, a circa 7.5 acre site in south Manchester for 80 houses. The company is also working on acquiring two sites for speculative industrial/logistics development in Cheshire and Merseyside, with a desire to add a further site in Greater Manchester when the right opportunity presents itself.
NICHOLSON ON MANCHESTER
“Manchester has a well-established property market, attracting investment from around the world. The city has strong governance, a clear view for future development and an appetite for growth. This presents developers with an opportunity to invest for the long term over a wide area.”
Nicholson tells me there are three areas of the market where Harlex is focussed on more acquisitions: “Firstly, city centre offices. I believe that there will be more of a focus on quality of product and location. Tenants will want to take less space in future with more flexibility. Therefore new office developments should be designed with future flexibility in mind, both in terms of space and servicing strategy.
“I expect office leases will shorten and the days of 15 year lease terms might be over. As such, those with the most flexible office buildings in prime locations will see occupancy levels remain highest. Think of office landlords becoming more like BTR/PRS landlords with terms between 1-5 years.
“Another asset class where we will see continued growth will be urban logisticsand last mile delivery centres. As more shopping is online the demand for delivery centres in and around the North West will continue to grow. Harlex are keen to acquire sites of 4 acres plus to deliver well-located, high quality developments.
“Harlex are also keen to assist housebuilders in delivering some of the targeted 300,000 homes per year. Through our funding partner Palmer Capital, we have raised a fund focussed solely on acquiring land without planning consent on an unconditional basis. This fund can be seen as an enabler to the housing market and will purchase sites that ordinarily would not be bought by the housebuilders, because of the risk through the planning process, nor would they be bought be other developers, as they are typically not suitable for employment uses.”
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