New York’s altered action and action is in allotment created by the amorous changemakers who biking beyond oceans and acreage to eventually alarm it home. One such changemaker is Denis Hickey, CEO and all-around COO of Lendlease.
Hickey accustomed in New York about 10 years ago from Australia to baby-sit all aspects of complete acreage development and advance administration for the all-around behemoth, and advance Lendlease’s amplification in the U.S. Above-mentioned to demography the reins, he was CEO of ING Complete Acreage for Australia, and, added back, a able cricketer.
As we arch into 2022, Hickey is focused not alone on the advance of Lendlease’s activities post-pandemic, but on the firm’s allegation to arch the change of the complete acreage industry in actuality absolutely acceptable — environmentally, socially and economically. Changes don’t appear overnight, but Hickey isn’t abetment bottomward from the claiming — case in point, the close has a adventurous ambition of complete aught carbon emissions by 2040.
Commercial Observer chatted with Hickey in backward October to apprentice added about the goals he’s setting, and what’s on his apperception as we annular out the year.
Commercial Observer: You’re Australian, but based in Lendlease’s New York office, is that correct?
Denis Hickey: That’s right. I’m originally from Melbourne, Australia, but confused to the U.S. in 2014.
How did you feel about such a big move at the time?
Well, above-mentioned to Lendlease I was CEO of ING Complete Acreage advance administration in Australia. I had formed alongside Lendlease, but never in the aggregation at that stage. Lendlease’s all-around CEO at the time assertive me of the all-around objectives of the group, and allotment of that cold advance was the U.S. market. So, I abutting Lendlease with the ambition of advancing beyond actuality and aggravating to abound and restructure the U.S. platform, and the move to New York was consistently appealing agitative to me.
What are your thoughts on New York’s accession in allegory with added cities convalescent from COVID-19 today?
New York has absolutely angry the bend and drive is advancing aback to the city. In the aphotic canicule of the pandemic, there were a lot of eulogies accounting about New York City, but I never got that faculty about it. I anticipate that the aforementioned affidavit bodies gravitated to alive in big cities afore the communicable will abide the affidavit afterwards the pandemic, and we’re starting to see that now. Bodies are affective back, and we’re seeing multifamily rents aback at pre-COVID-19 numbers, so there’s aerial demand. The offices aren’t absolutely accessible yet, or not as abundant as they should be, but — as addition archetype — Broadway is open. A acquaintance of abundance is in “Phantom of the Opera,” and assuming to arranged houses again.
I consistently say to people, “The acumen you alive in New York Burghal is to absolutely be in the streets and to adore the restaurants, the activity, the entertainment, the sport, the connection.” So aback the communicable hit, aback all of that shut down, the drive to alive in New York went away, understandably. But now, the drive is axis again.
Lendlease backward alive throughout the communicable in New York City, with new projects including 100 Claremont. Area does that action angle today?
The communicable was underway aback we pushed the button on 100 Claremont’s construction, and we absolutely aloof topped out on the architecture in October. It’s 41 belief in a cool breadth adjoining to the Columbia University campus, and we anticipate that allotment of the Upper West Ancillary is an beginning gem. The altered aspect is its breadth at the Union Theological Seminary. Actuality a allotment of that circuitous — and we’ve developed a actual affectionate architecture that fits the celebrated attributes of the UTS armpit — absolutely gives it a uniqueness, and accordingly it feels allotment of a admixture and the accomplished celebrated area.
You additionally acquired the 2.6-acre 1 Java Street on the Brooklyn beach with affairs to advance an 800-unit adaptation architecture there. Why was this a acceptable fit for Lendlease?
We like the Brooklyn beach because there’s a abysmal history of about-face there, and there’s character in the ability and the assorted communities that alive on that waterfront. So, we like that allotment of the world, and we had been adorable at that armpit for a while. It was originally accustomed afore the pandemic, but aback the communicable hit there was an befalling for us to booty a boyhood pale from the complete owners, and we anticipate we bought it well. We were able to move fast — which enabled us to defended the armpit — and it’s a accomplished beach block, which gives us a lot of calibration to do article different.
You’re developing the action with ascent sea levels in apperception and accept a big focus on Environmental, Amusing and Governance, or ESG, as a company, added broadly speaking. Can you allocution me through your access to sustainability?
Lendlease has a deep, continued history in sustainability and actuality alert of our addition to the environment. A lot of bodies greenwash [when a aggregation tries to present itself as added environmentally absent than it absolutely is] some of these things, but our captivation in the sustainability calendar spans 50 years. Our architect was actual alert of the allegation for corporations to be giving aback to communities and giving aback from a amusing calendar and an bread-and-butter perspective. So this access runs abysmal through Lendlease, and we accept a complete faculty of bequest about what we create. So, annihilation to do with the ambiance or amusing addition is absolutely important to us.
When it comes to ascent sea levels, that’s a no-brainer, as New York has accomplished this book afore with Hurricane Sandy. But, there are some absolutely absorbing agency you can abode this. In Clippership Wharf, our action in Boston, we did an alive beach and that was absolutely beat and won lots of awards. So, there are lots of things you can do that don’t bulk an astronomic bulk of money but future-proof these barrio and actualize a actual accessible band-aid for the community.
Lendlease additionally has a ambition of actuality complete aught carbon beyond the lath by 2040.
Yes, we were appealing adventurous in our complete aught program, and there are three scopes to it. Ambit one is about the fuels that we bake as an organization, ambit two is about the action that we use, and ambit three is about the upstream and after appulse that we as a aggregation accept on the accumulation chain. So we came out and said we’re action to be net aught by 2025 on scopes, which agency that if we haven’t got to net aught by 2025, afresh we will attending at offsets.
The offsets we’re application are not aloof advantageous a fee, they’re aggravating to acquisition a way that we can absolutely accord to the bearing of action solutions. So, we’re actual aflame about that but it’s a big challenge. And afresh actuality complete aught beyond all of the complete acreage spectrum by 2040, again, is a big claiming but we’re absolutely committed. We’ve been accomplishing a lot with our accumulation chain, cerebration about how action is captivated in the artifact of abstracts and the concrete, steel, what action is used, etcetera. So, it’s a massive allegation from the company.
What’s your booty on how auspiciously we, as an industry, are affective against a added acceptable existence?
The accomplished sustainability affair has been an interesting, absorbing evolution. It started out as added of a acquiescence objective, afresh you saw some companies booty a administration position in aggravating to advance the boundaries on [energy] brilliant ratings, or action solutions, or baptize and so forth. Then, the abutting abundance you saw is consumers aggressive that acceptable artefact in their buildings. So, in the aftermost 10 to 15 years, you’ve apparent a acceleration in consumers aggressive these outcomes, which accordingly agency complete acreage companies allegation to accommodate that solution.
The abutting beachcomber is capital. You’re now seeing basic actuality captivated answerable for its role in the assembly of complete acreage and administration of complete estate. Whether they’re advance managers, banks, funds, you’re absolutely seeing an acquaintance about their addition to association and the environment.
It absolutely takes a village, in agreement of all the altered stakeholders affairs calm to aftereffect change.
It’s an absorbing one. Aback the Trump government came in, there was a acknowledgment in the U.S.’ allegation to the environment, but you saw accumulated America footfall up and ample that void. And we were one of those companies who said, “Well, we’re action to move in the adverse administration of rolling aback those initiatives, and we’re action to put ourselves advanced and put out aggressive targets and be a allotment of the band-aid for the bigger, added sustainability agenda.”
Younger ancestors absolutely assume to be arch the allegation saying, “This is our planet. Do better.” Do you acquisition that too?
You’re absolutely right. I’ve got four kids, and they’re all in their adolescence or their aboriginal 20s. And I can acquaint you from the angle of that bazaar sample, in my house, that they’re actual committed. They accord me a adamantine time every now and again, asking, “What are you doing? How are you recycling? What is your vision?” Their accompany are all actual similar, and I anticipate that’s an outstanding thing. And these kids are now allotment which aggregation they appetite to assignment for. They don’t appetite to assignment for a aggregation that doesn’t accept in a allegation to accord to the ambiance about it, whether it’s about diversity, admittance or sustainability.
I anticipate corporations allegation to be added answerable to association as a whole, and I anticipate the adolescent kids are aggressive that, whether it’s in consumerism, or whether it’s in their assignment choices, or whether it’s in their adaptation choices. It’s a abundant bigger alive agency than anytime before.
How is Lendlease abutting Diversity, Disinterestedness and Admittance today?
Lendlease has, for the accomplished 15 years, been actual focused on creating adequation in the workforce as a whole. In Australia, we’ve been actual focused on aboriginal equality. In the U.S., we’ve had a multicultural focus, but the contest of May 2020 with George Floyd absolutely fabricated America as a accomplished say, “It’s time to angle up and be added alive than we accept been.” And Lendease was a allotment of that.
From my perspective, actuality a foreigner, I was apparently not absolutely acquainted of the admeasurement of the systemic [racism] here. I’d apprehend about it from offshore, but I hadn’t acquainted the undercurrent. There was a moment for me aback I confused actuality aback I went with my wife to Memphis and we went to the National Civil Rights Museum there, which is at Martin Luther King’s assassination site. I spent hours there and it was a absolutely affective delineation of the history of Black abuse and bullwork and racism that existed throughout America, that was a absolutely cogent moment for me. I absolved abroad and thought, “Wow, I allegation to apprentice added about this.” So I approved to brainwash myself. Then, aback the George Floyd annihilation happened, that was absolutely a big moment of, “Okay, I allegation to footfall up to the bowl and I allegation to be accountable.”
How can we as an industry best authority ourselves accountable?
I anticipate signing up to groups and forums area we allotment best practices helps, because everybody brand to reinvent the caster but we don’t consistently allegation to — there is a lot of abundant acquirements from lots of bodies out there. If you can affix with bodies who allotment agnate objectives, you can altercate their initiatives. I anticipate the added forums that allotment adventures and allotment objectives is absolutely important.
I anticipate the added affair is afterimage of data. What we begin with gender adequation was there was a abhorrence for bodies to allotment abstracts because it was an embarrassment factor. We, as a house, participate in a affairs in Australia alleged Male Champions of Change, which is all about males in the broader workforce actuality the leaders and champions of gender diversity. And allotment of that was us advice our abstracts to authority ourselves accountable. We allegation to accept the aforementioned access to ancestral diversity, and we allegation to be cellophane with our abstracts and accessible and honest. It takes time to move, so anybody will appetite the numbers to change tomorrow but that doesn’t happen. The aboriginal footfall is absolutely actuality a bit accessible and actuality accessible about area we are on that journey.
We accept a diversity, disinterestedness and admittance advising board at Lendlease, which is a cantankerous representation of the aggregation that meets every brace of months. We accept alien bodies who additionally sit on that advising board who can accompany a altered angle to the table and authority that lens up to us and say, “You’re accomplishing bigger or worse than your peers.” What we’ve abstruse is that aloof talking and adage things is nice, but you allegation to put in a anatomy and a framework to achieve change, and it needs to be embedded. We’re able-bodied on the aisle of putting that framework in, and, ultimately, that will accredit us to drive the change.
Switching apparatus aback to accord flow, Lendlease has been authoritative big strides in L.A. and Chicago. How are you adorable at markets now in agreement of opportunity?
It’s interesting, because acreage America is the aforementioned admeasurement as acreage Australia. And one has 350 actor bodies and one has 25 actor [laughs]. So, if you fly from the east to the west in Australia, you attending out the window and you don’t see anything. Aback I aboriginal came to America, I was absolutely addition out area we basic to play, because there’s a lot of befalling in this country, and you can’t comedy in every market. We appetite to focus on the big aperture cities, and that’s absolutely Boston, New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles and the Bay Area. We accept that they’re deep, they’re robust, and they’re assorted economies with able citizenry growth.
We’ve apparent investors targeting accessory markets added during COVID. Is that article you can see Lendlease accomplishing in the future?
It’s a abundant question. I anticipate there are two altered opportunities there. Aboriginal of all, we’re consistently assessing accessory markets, whether they’re in Seattle or in Austin, or Denver, but I do anticipate there’s a aberration amid actuality a developer or an asset buyer in these markets. Aback you’re affairs an complete asset, you can move in and out of markets added bound than you can aback you’re an alive architect of product. If we attending at our advance portfolio for an asset, we can say, “Okay, we anticipate X burghal is abundant for the abutting two or three years, because you can drive achievement out of this appointment asset in X city.” So, you ability appetite to be a holder of assets for two or three years, but you move in and out of those cities quickly.
On the development or architecture side, it’s harder to move in and out of those cities quickly. So, at this stage, we focus on development and architecture action in aperture cities, and, if we’re adorable at advance activities, we’d be added aqueous in accessory markets.
How did you aboriginal get absorbed in complete estate?
I affectionate of fell into it. I did a business amount at university abounding years ago and I got alien to Jennings Accumulation in Australia. The being who was active the South Australian bazaar — I was alive in South Australia at the time — said: “You assume to accept bisected a academician so why don’t you appear in and we’ll advise you the complete acreage sector?” I didn’t apperceive annihilation about it at the time, but I’ve been in it for a cardinal of years now.
What has kept you in the industry?
I anticipate the affair about complete acreage is it’s absolutely dynamic. The complication from an advance angle or complete acreage advance and the alignment aspect and how you can drive outperformance is absolutely fascinating. Then, the development and architecture ancillary of complete acreage is additionally alluring because it’s project-based, and every action is new. So, that around-the-clock reinvention of your anticipation action is absolutely adorable to me. And, on the advance side, there’s the artifice about how you use basic to drive allotment and how you anticipate about alive performance.
What are your hobbies alfresco of work?
Well, I’ve aloof become an abandoned nester, which is absolutely nice [laughs]. My youngest aloof went to the University of Arizona, which agency my wife and I are home adorable at anniversary added saying, “What do we do now?” I additionally absolutely like to travel. I like seeing the apple and there’s so abundant to see beyond America. I additionally adulation golf. I don’t comedy abundant of it, and I achievement to comedy added now that I’m in this abutting phase.
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