In 1923, Wembley Stadium was built to serve as the centerpiece for the British Empire Exhibition. Since then, it has continued to host some of the world’s most memorable moments in sports and entertainment history throughout the twentieth century.
The original stadium was demolished in 2003 and replaced by the newer, larger Wembley Stadium we know today. Like its predecessor, the new stadium is helping to drive a new wave of mixed-use development that’s reshaping Wembley Park into a vibrant neighborhood development where people can live, work, shop, eat and play, all within walking distances.
Quintain, one of the UK’s largest development firms, is the main force behind the Wembley Park transformation. The company is investing £3 billion into remaking 85 acres with 8.8 million square feet (over 800,000 square-meters) of mixed-use development, including office space, a theater, park, outlet shopping, a community center and more. At the heart of it all is a commitment to building community.
It’s no surprise, then, that much of Quintain’s development at Wembley Park focuses on housing, the majority of which is build-to-rent apartments designed for family life, younger demographics and affordable housing.
One of the most important endeavors in neighborhood development from the ground up is identifying trusted partners who can rise to the challenges that engineering, architecture and urban development on this scale present. With the residential building at Wembley Park specifically, there are added challenges of flexibility, variability, customization and designing with an eye to the future to make sure the various end user experiences are commensurate with the Wembley Park brand.
To help realize Wembley Park’s residences with those goals in mind, Quintain selected a key strategic partner: Kohler Co.
“We sought a company which has the range and quality of product that enables us to deliver a different impression across each of our individual projects as each has its own unique designs within the overall development,” says Mary Kelly-Mannion, head of cost management and procurement at Quintain. “Partnerships start with people. We want to work with people who are experts in their field, who work collaboratively and who can provide us with the best solutions for our needs.”
Kohler is particularly positioned for this level and scale of collaboration. The reach of its products across the globe and the partnerships Kohler fosters continue to bolster the company’s longstanding reputation for quality among developers, designers and consumers.
Experience, expertise and service have helped Kohler form large-scale partnerships to create best-in-class commercial, residential, and mixed-use developments across the world.
Once complete, 55,000 KOHLER® products will be in bathrooms and kitchens across Wembley Park. Among those products, Quintain relied on the Kohler team’s insight for which would best suit the design intent, functionality and specific budget for each residential project.
“Kohler introduced us to products that are at the forefront of design and technology,” says Mary Kelly-Mannion. “They worked hard to ensure that we have the best products for our development at the most competitive prices. We could also see that Kohler continues to develop and innovate.”
Beyond scale was the challenge of the project’s speed. A residential build on this scale would typically require about seven years to complete. Wembley Park’s apartments will be completed in two years. Accomplishing this timeline depends on a carefully planned and executed production process.
A thousand miles (1600 km) southeast of Wembley Park, electricians, plumbers and Italian artisan tilers work in a warehouse with dozens of rows of room-sized steel-framed cubes.
This is the production line at Bathsystem, a bathroom pod manufacturing facility in Verona, Italy, and one of two pod manufacturers for Wembley Park. Walker Modular, located in Hull on the east coast of England, is the other.
Prefabricated bathroom pods are a critical piece in project speed because they allow various phases of building to happen concurrently and minimize on-site operatives, with complete rooms shipped in and installed, like a puzzle, into the rest of the residence.
With so many moving parts in the process—and so many moving rooms in the buildings, Quintain and its pod manufacturing partners relied on the resilience and quality of KOHLER products. They are durable and dependable enough to withstand the trials of global transportation, installation at pod facilities and construction at Wembley Park.
“Because of their past experience and a willingness to work with our pod manufacturers, Kohler streamlined build time and helped create efficiencies in the process,” explains Matt Voyce, Quintain executive director of construction. “The quality of the people at Kohler and their supportive attitude with our pod manufacturers and designers made them a true partner.”
“Kohler’s logistics and distribution team have truly engaged with our pod manufacturers whether they are located in the UK or northern Italy,” adds Kelly-Mannion. “The Kohler team maintains direct and continual dialogue with the suppliers and us and facilitates on-time delivery, thus ensuring the overall construction program isn’t impacted adversely.”
When complete, Wembley Park will be the largest single-site purpose-built build-to-rent development in the UK. In every sense, the initiatives behind it are both grand and revolutionary. This project is truly a first for residential housing in the UK, and it is supported with innovations and features like low-carbon energy centers and district heating, sitewide waste disposal, site-wide IT infrastructure, car parking for 3,000 vehicles, 42 acres of public realm and resident gardens.
Quintain’s goals are to create a sense of place for the 20,000 residents who will live in Wembley Park, nurture a hub of innovation for businesses that will grow there and provide an exciting destination for the 15 million annual entertainment-seekers who will visit. And the path to achieving that goal is supported by partners like Kohler.
“As a team, we have born and raised this vision, going on a journey of development and improvement at every design stage,” says Voyce. “The level of support we receive from the Kohler team, the product development to keep us ahead of our competition and the strong support for Wembley Park give us a real sense Kohler has collaboration in its DNA and is part of our own team.”
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