Cathedral Group was a property development company founded by Richard Upton and Barry Bennett in 1998. It was 95 per cent owned by Upton and 5% owned by Martin Wood.
It grew considerably up to 2014 to become one of the most creative and innovative developers of mixed-use regeneration schemes in Greater London and the South East. In an interview in 2014, Upton said, “What really drives me is creating beautiful places, but they have to be profitable for us to pay wages and manage the risk.“
In May 2014 Cathedral Group was acquired by Development Securities PLC for £27.4m. The companies had previously worked in joint ventures at The Old Vinyl Factory and Morden Wharf and at The Movement, Greenwich. At the time of the acquisition, Cathedral Group owned assets worth a gross £47m, including nine high-quality, mixed-use developments worth £40m and totalling 5m square feet.
Following the acquisition, Upton joined the Development Securities’ board as an executive director.
Michael Marx, Chief Executive Officer of Development Securities, said: "The acquisition of Cathedral is highly complementary to our existing activities. We are adding a portfolio of attractive development projects to our own portfolio, with the potential to deliver further gains in the years ahead….Cathedral share our entrepreneurial and creative spirit and I am confident that the additional capabilities they bring will enable the enlarged Group to accelerate its growth and deliver enhanced value to shareholders in the years ahead."
Upton said: "We are confident that the integration with Development Securities will provide a stronger platform as we progress our existing portfolio of developments towards completion, and secure additional projects to further contribute to the growth of the Company."
On 9 November 2015, Cathedral and Development Securities became U+I. The new identity was based on the motto of a pub, The Seawitch, no longer standing, which had been ‘Be United and Industrious’. This was discovered during research by Development Securities and Cathedral in the course of their joint venture to buy Morden Wharf in March 2012. They felt the motto perfectly described the collaborative and productive nature of their joint venture and so it became the inspiration for the name U+I.
Chief Executive, Matthew Weiner said: “We now have a stronger team with the depth of knowledge and skills to deliver high quality returns across the business. Using our combined expertise we have put in place a number of strategic initiatives as we seek to enhance our position as the UK’s most respected mixed-use regeneration company. Leading the integrated teams in our new roles, Richard Upton and I aim to be the inspiration of U+I in that combined, we are stronger and more focused in all we do.”
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