I met up with Inter Ikea boss Harald Muller last week to discuss the company’s plans for major investment in the UK and in particular east London.
Talking to other developers and property people in the area, this is a company and name to get excited about. They have deep pockets at a time when the banks are not lending and they have fresh and original ideas about building houses and commercial schemes that are both affordable, high quality and sustainable.
Much like the famous Swedish retail giant that they are linked to, the emphasis is on cutting costs while retaining simple, quality design. The first scheme they are proposing in the UK is the 30-acre Strand East, opposite the Olympic Park at the Sugar House Lane and 3 Mills Studio area.
The full interview can be read here.
Interestingly, as an aside Muller says the company really believes in the east of London as the next great place to invest in the UK, but he says there are clear image issues that need to be addressed. When Muller first caught a taxi with other members of Inter IKEA to view the Sugar House Lane site the company originally bought, the cab driver apparently raised an eyebrow and said “do you really want to go there?” Muller says the company was surprised by the level and nature of the crime in the area. It is an image and a situation that they are working hard to change.