Essential Living hires construction chief to boost in-house team

Essential Living, a developer and operator of homes for rent, has appointed James McStay as head of construction services as it continues work on its £1bn pipeline.

McStay has project managed Essential Living’s Vantage Point scheme in Islington in his previous role as projects director for Capita Property and Infrastructure.

At Capita, McStay also led teams delivering construction and cost management services for three Essential Living projects: Berkshire House in Maidenhead, Infinity Towers in Canary Wharf and the award-winning Creekside Wharf in Greenwich.

With over 35 years in the development industry under his belt, the last five focusing on build to rent, McStay will be a key figure in Essential Living’s mission to transform the rental market in London and the South East.

McStay is a regular speaker at industry events related to build to rent and has international property experience, having previously worked all over the world, in countries as diverse as the Netherlands and Nigeria.

He joins in what will be a busy year for Essential Living: the Perfume Factory, the largest approved build to rent project in London, gained outline consent from Ealing council unanimously in February. Theatre Square in Swiss Cottage got the green light from the secretary of state while a planning application will soon be submitted to create 180 homes for rent in Brentford, west London.

Essential Living’s first project will open this summer. The company has already boosted its property management, lettings and digital marketing teams with new hires. A revamp of the 1960s Archway Tower office block, Vantage Point will see 118 premium flats designed specifically for rent brought to the market.

Residents will benefit from a range of amenity spaces including rooftop terraces and winter garden, along with 24/7 service and concierge.

James McStay, head of construction services at Essential Living, said:

“Working closely with Essential Living in recent years has been hugely inspiring and I’m looking forward to playing a crucial role in the creation of a new and exciting consumer-facing brand in property. I’ve enjoyed a great time at Capita and am massively grateful to them for all their support.”

Ray Theakston, construction director at Essential Living, said:

“Boosting our in-house construction expertise is part of our on-going strategy to mitigate risk and manage costs. Given the scale of development we’re taking on, this is proving critical. James is an industry-leading expert in his field and will be a welcome addition to the Essential Living team.”