What was once a vast forest of cranes and concrete has, by some mysterious urban pupation, recently turned into one of London's most lovely piazzas.
Argent was founded in 1981 by Michael and Peter Freeman. Both remain engaged with the business, which has now been ‘developing well’ for over 30 years.
Argent is founded by Michael and Peter Freeman.
Argent carries out more than 20 projects, mainly office and warehouse developments around the M25, with institutional, venture capital and contractor partners.
David Partridge, Roger Madelin and Tony Giddings, now (respectively) managing partner and former partners, join.
Argent disposes of most of its holdings before the market crash.
Argent re-enters development with the purchase of the 17 acre Brindleyplace site in central Birmingham. Gary Taylor joins Argent.
During the downturn, Argent builds a large commercial property investment portfolio in partnership with US private equity house, Warburg Pincus.
Argent floats on London Stock Exchange for £150 million. Stephen Tillman joins Argent.
Argent Development Consortium Limited – a joint venture with BT Pension Scheme (“BTPS”) and Citigroup – is formed to carry out several hundred million pound development programme at Brindleyplace, Thames Valley Park, Reading and in the City of London.
Argent wins Developer of the Year and Financial Innovation of the Year. Freeman brothers jointly win Property Personality of the Year.
BTPS purchases Argent at Net Asset Value of £240 million and takes the company private. Later in the year, Argent’s £400 million gross investment portfolio is transferred to BTPS, managed by Hermes. Argent’s development projects are transferred to Argent Projects Partnerships (“APP”), a new partnership between Argent and the Freeman brothers. Roger Madelin becomes chief executive.
Jim Prower (former partner) and André Gibbs, now partner, join. David Partridge, Tony Giddings and Jim Prower are appointed board directors.
Through APP, Argent carries out major office and mixed use projects in central London, the Thames Valley, central Manchester and central Birmingham, including headquarters buildings for Bank of New York, BT, Deloitte, Lloyds Bank, Logica, Prudential and RBS. A further APP undertakes a major long-term project in South Wales in partnership with Miller Group.
James Heather, (former partner), joins.
Argent is selected as the developer of 67 acres at King’s Cross. The agreement with the landowners, London & Continental Railways and the DHL Supply Chain, provides for a long-term 50:50 development partnership. Stephen Tillman and Gary Taylor become directors of Argent.
Peter Hazell becomes chairman. Robert Evans, now a partner, joins.
Richard Meier, (former partner), joins.
Robert Evans and André Gibbs become board directors.
The London Borough of Camden grants outline planning permission for 8 million sq ft of development at King’s Cross. David Partridge becomes joint chief executive of Argent with Roger Madelin.
Mike Lightbound, now a partner, joins.
The King’s Cross Central Limited Partnership (‘KCCLP’) is formed and Sir David Clementi is appointed Non-Executive Chairman.
Infrastructure work commences and KCCLP agrees its first major deal at King’s Cross. Work starts on the conversion of the Granary Complex for Central Saint Martins new campus – part of University of the Arts London.
In Manchester, Argent (via an APP) and the Greater Manchester Property Venture Fund join forces to develop the 285,000 sq ft One St. Peter’s Square. The building is part pre-let to KPMG.
Nick Searl, now a partner, joins.
£340 million of infrastructure work is completed or committed at King’s Cross. Major pre-lettings to Aga Khan Development Network (five buildings), 185,000 sq ft headquarter building for Camden Council, a 340,000 sq ft office pre-let to BNP Paribas Real Estate and 1,000,000 sq ft deal with Google for their UK headquarters. 180,000 sq ft of speculative office development starts construction. Over 500 homes are completed and occupied with hundreds more under construction.
Argent undergoes internal reorganisation to establish an LLP, to carry on its development and asset management services role.
Argent moves its London office to King’s Cross. In all three Argent locations, we can now call one of the buildings we have developed a home.
The King’s Cross development is proceeding at pace: One, Two, Five and Seven Pancras Square complete, all fully-let to commercial tenants; the historic German Gymnasium is taken by restaurant group D+D London; and the site wins in nine categories at New London Architecture’s annual awards. Paradise Circus appoints Eric Parry Architects for its first building, and announces the start of construction for 2015.
Ffos-y-fran Land Reclamation Scheme Merthyr Tydfil
A joint venture with The Miller Group Limited, reclaiming 1,000 acres of derelict land, extracting coal in the process using surface mining methods.
Argent sold its interest in the reclamation scheme in January 2016.
In March, Argent forms a joint venture with US developer Related, to pursue the development of urban projects of scale in London and the UK. Argent Related is the vehicle through which Argent and Related will exclusively pursue all future projects in the UK.
Also in March, Argent Related is selected as the preferred partner for Barnet Council in the development of Brent Cross South, London – a project which will provide 7,000 new homes and 4.2 million sq ft of commercial space.
The London Borough of Haringey in March announces plans for a new joint venture at Tottenham Hale, a London Housing Zone. Argent starts working with the Borough and Hermes Investment Management on the creation of 2,000 new homes and 400 new jobs.
In April, James Wates CBE is appointed as a Non-Executive to the Argent Board.
In January, the UK government announced the sale of its investment in the King’s Cross redevelopment to Australian Super, Australia’s biggest superannuation/pension funds run only to profit members. The Fund manages more than $AUD91 billion of members’ assets on behalf of more than two million members from across 210,000 businesses. King’s Cross is its first direct London investment and only its second in the UK. Anna Strongman and Will Colthorpe become Partners. Phil Sullivan, Phil Tait, Rob Groves and Steve Alderson become Directors.
Argent and joint investor Tameside have completed on the sale of the Elisabeth House structure holding One St Peter’s Square to Deka.
2016 - present
An ambitious new programme to transform Tottenham Hale was announced in July 2016, as Haringey Council confirmed it will enter a strategic partnership with Argent Related. The regeneration of Tottenham Hale represents the first phase of London’s largest Housing Zone in Tottenham. The partnership with Argent Related will deliver a range of around 800 homes (including market sale, build to rent and affordable) around the Tottenham Hale transport hub, with Victoria line, National Rail and future Crossrail 2 services.
Argent Related submit proposals for its major redevelopment of central Tottenham Hale. The planning application encompasses five pieces of land earmarked for change, supporting Haringey Council’s vision of a new ‘district centre’ for the area.