SPR Site Visit: Travis Perkins, 13 St Pancras Way, London, NW1
Tuesday, 9th April, 2019

Some 20 SPR members took the chance to join a tour of the Travis Perkins/Unite mixed use project in Camden on 9th April 2019.

The building, which combines warehousing with student accommodation, featured in an SPR seminar on mixed industrial/residential developments held last year.  Travis Perkins are the largest builders’ merchants in London, with more than 180 branches across the capital.

Martin Meech, Group Property Director, Travis Perkins, began by giving a presentation on the project.  He explained its origins of the project during the financial crisis, when a lack of cash encouraged Travis Perkins to enter an agreement with Unite to use an existing builders’ yard for the creation of a new student residence with warehousing underneath.

The project took four years to complete from the initial agreement, in part because of difficulties negotiating planning permission with the Borough of Camden, which did not want to lose any of the existing industrial floor space.  Construction was also challenging due to the need to provide enough space for lorries to turn between the columns supporting the student block.

Meech noted that this is still seen as a ground-breaking project, even though it is nearly five years old. Developers are now showing more interest in doing similar mixed used projects around London, but he stressed that the costs involved mean they are only likely to work where land values are high.  Nevertheless, the growing demand in the capital both for residential space and last mile delivery facilities should make a number of such projects financially viable.


Nick Pinney, Divisional Property Director – General Merchanting, Travis Perkins joined Meech in showing the SPR group around the warehousing area.  They explained that enclosing the yard has made it quieter for local residents.  There have been no noise complaints from any of the students living above, many of whom probably don’t realise the amount of lorry and van traffic going on beneath them.

A tour of the student accommodation followed, led by Peter McColm, Services & Sales Supervisor at Unite. McColm enthused that all the flats are reserved well into the next academic year.  The central and well-connected location of the building, which houses 572 people, is proving highly popular, especially among foreign students. 

Travis Perkins kindly provided a sandwich lunch to the SPR group at the end of the visit.

Tim Horsey