Martin’s Properties and BlackOnyx team up for £100m outer prime JV

Obsidian Strategic launches with 'substantial funding' for 'complex sites without planning consent that require lateral thinking'

Chelsea-based investment and development company Martin’s Properties, and luxury resi developer BlackOnyx are launching a new JV – called Obsidian Strategic – with plans to build a £100m land portfolio in outer prime areas in and around the capital.

The new company will focus on buying sites within both Greater London and prime home counties, concentrating on “complex sites with scale and potential to create added value”.

Martin’s Properties, headed by Tom Martin, owns one of the biggest mixed-use property portfolios in Chelsea, including swathes of the King’s Road. The firm has recently developed the corner of Radnor Walk and the King’s Road, and also has schemes in Chiswick, Fulham and Cobham (the latter a JV mansion with Visu Verum).

BlackOnyx, launched eight years ago by former Berkeley Homes and Dandara exec David Ardley, started out with a pretty tight focus on Prime Central London – developing over £88m-worth of high-end resi units in Westminster and RBKC  (including a townhouse on Scarsdale Villas W8 and a quite impressive new penthouse on an existing Chelsea mansion block) – but has diversified out to larger strategic sites in the last couple of years, with sites in Chiswick and Guildford.

The two companies are already collaborating on a range of projects currently under way in prime London and Surrey.

David Ardley: “We are looking to acquire complex sites without planning consent that require lateral thinking and a diverse skill set to unlock maximum value. We are looking at scaleable sites, including both greenfield and town centre regeneration projects. We expect to see lots of interesting opportunities over the next five years, with the planning system under significant pressure and the political landscape uncertain.”

Tom Martin: “We have set up Obsidian Strategic with a substantial level of funding and a structure that allows us to be extremely agile. We are prepared to take planning and development risk on sites and will be looking at a range of acquisitions outside of Prime Central London in the surrounding areas and the Home Counties where we are already active.”