We recently spoke to Niccolò Barattieri di San Pietro, Chief Executive Officer at Northacre.
With more than 18 years experience within the world of exclusive international real estate, Niccolò’s blue-chip background provides a driving force for Northacre’s ground breaking projects. Northacre offers a unique product in London’s property market, and with architecture at their heart, they distinguish themselves through an intrinsic appreciation for quality craftsmanship and innovation.
How did you first become involved in the development industry?
After many years of working in the City as a trader for various hedge funds, I realised that I’m more of a people’s person and that a finance career would never be able to fulfill me. I have always had a strong interest in property and have managed a small property portfolio on behalf of my family since my early twenties, so I decided to pursue pastures new and saw property as the ideal career path.
At this time, it was already obvious to me that developing property successfully involves a strong understanding of finance, and I thought that my background in the financial industry could only be a benefit to what I wanted to bring to the realm of super-prime real estate.
However, my real escape route appeared in 2006 when my good friend and mentor Alessandro Cajrati Crivelli offered me a position at his real estate development company Est4te Four and provided me with the opportunity to work on multiple projects all over the world.
Alongside the other Est4te Four Partners, and over the seven years I was working with the company, I helped Est4te Four advance from a mid-size developer into a global real estate advisor with developments in Milan, London, New York and Los Angeles.
In 2013 when Northacre was bought by ADFG, I was asked to become its new CEO and simply couldn’t resist the opportunity to work on some of the most prestigious real estate projects in London.
What do you think the fundamentals of leadership are?
There have been many books written on the subject, but I think that one needs to keep it simple and abide by clear fundamentals that employees can then embrace. The ones I feel make the greatest difference in an organization are: transmit passion, create clear accountability, be creative, empower everyone around you and most of all have empathy.
What is your leadership style?
Hire the best people and get out of their way! It might sound simplistic but empowering employees and giving them the freedom to add value always yields the highest return whilst also creating a positive work environment.
What is the business ethos at Northacre?
Our ethos is that we want our clients to experience the exceptional and thus we have a meticulous focus on crafting the best homes in the world. The focus should always be on the customer and fulfilling their desires.
How has the company evolved over the years?
When I joined Northacre in 2013, I was briefed to shape the company’s ambitious plans to raise its profile and reputation internationally. Since then, Northacre has established a reputation for refinement, craftsmanship and technical excellence, built on consistent success over the last 30 years with market-leading residential developments in London.
We have for example developed and designed more than 1 million square feet in the capital, achieved over £1billion in Gross Development Value from our landmark schemes, and created 1000+ apartments and houses in Prime Central London – all milestones we are extremely proud of!
We are a design-led firm, founded by an architect. We’re renowned for façade retention work, and for over 30 years, we have had many past projects to celebrate for example The Lancasters, the longest façade retention in Europe comprising of 15 magnificent stucco-fronted Grade II listed houses dating from the mid-nineteenth century, iconic gated development The Phillimores, and The Bromptons, a listed neo-gothic building, with two new blocks replicating the style.
Our current developments No. 1 Palace Street, and The Broadway really showcase a new evolved Northacre. On the one hand, No. 1 Palace Street, a grade II listed building at its core, comprising five architectural styles (Italian and French Renaissance, Beaux Arts and Queen Anne, and contemporary), and on the other hand, The Broadway is our first mixed-use development, a 1.72-acre triangular site in the heart of Westminster, with six buildings composed of residential, commercial and retail space.
In summary, while we continue to excel at heritage revival, but we are also focusing on contemporary new-builds now. However, what does remain constant is that each residence is built as a legacy project, a creation of a beautiful home for generations to come.
Where can you see the business in the next five or so years?
I see Northacre continuing to deliver exceptional homes in PCL whilst also looking at other cities. We were pioneers in high-end residential in PCL 30 years ago and now see the opportunity to export our skill set to other parts of the world.
What differentiates you from other luxury development companies?
Northacre has 30 years of experience developing luxury residences in the most sought-after locations, with almost £2bn of property under development and more than 1 million square feet of high-end residential property already developed, which makes our accomplishments quite unique compared to other super-prime property developers in London.
However, I would say that Northacre mostly distinguishes itself through an intrinsic understanding of luxury, where passionate attention to detail is combined with an appreciation for craftsmanship, heritage and innovation. This is showcased through the notable developments Northacre has been responsible for such as the aforementioned Lancasters, The Phillimores, and The Bromptons, to name but a few. At Northacre we also spend an incredible amount of time building relationships with our buyers and create a trusted rapport through impeccable service.
Thank you Niccolò and good luck in the future.