He’s back: Hussey to turn his hand to asset management and investment While Hussey gained his reputation in development — first as a high-flying agent at Knight Frank and then as head of leasing at Canary Wharf Group, before spearheading some of the defining projects of the decade with Land Securities — he is sure to focus initially on investment opportunities. Quite simply, there is little or no money around for development funding, so Hussey will have to test his lesser-known investment and asset-management skills.
Hussey was involved in one spectacular sale in summer 2007, though, at 20 Blackfriars Road in London’s Southwark, where he persuaded an Israeli consortium to part with £90m for a development site that is now unlikely to be built on for years. At Land Securities, Hussey was best known for pressing the button on its giant Cardinal Place project in Victoria, not long after the dot.com crash. The scheme subsequently let well, changing the profile of what had been seen as a government backwater. He also helped to transform the image of another emerging London market, in Southwark, with the development of a large site behind the Tate Modern gallery as a series of projects known as Bankside, which is occupied by such tenants as the Royal Bank of Scotland and media group IPC.
The jury is still out, though, on One New Change, Land Securities’ big play in the City of London, which opens next year. In engaging modernist French architect Jean Nouvel, Hussey openly defied the Prince of Wales, who had “made his views known” on the choice. The “Walkie-Talkie” tower, at 20 Fenchurch Street, also sits on the stocks, and is unlikely to be built for many years.
He was in relaxed form at the annual lunch of the British Council for Offices, where Hussey is president, at London’s Dorchester hotel on 16 September. “I’m back,” he told the 400-strong crowd, as he waited for people to take their seats. “You can sit down, but you can stop talking.” He followed up with: “We won’t be keeping you too long in getting back to your offices, to see what hasn’t happened.” As one of the people most likely to get the London market moving again, the sector waits Hussey’s next move with bated breath.”