Reimagining and lifting communities by turning the average into the inspiring.
In partnership with leading developers, financial institutions, and local authorities we are trusted to deliver large-scale, complex regeneration projects – working with local communities to imagine new neighbourhoods and leave a legacy for future generations to enjoy.
“Orion’s knowledge of property and ability to recognise uniquely excellent opportunities for development are unmatched.”
Paul Wrights, President – Europe, Cortland
Orion is a strategic property development company that specialises in reimagining neglected places and lifting forgotten communities.
We have over 30 years’ experience in the property market, with a strong record of working with partners to identify land and buildings in overlooked urban areas that need regeneration by delivering large-scale, mixed use developments that become stylish and inspiring new neighbourhoods.
Over the years we have managed numerous regeneration projects delivering new homes together with commercial and leisure space providing employment and business opportunities.
Our company has a commitment to integrity, openness with and a determination to deliver what we say, when we say for our partners and shareholders.
We take the inspiration for all our work from the wise words of Daniel H Burnham, the architect of the 1909 Plan of Chicago, who famously said:
“Make no little plans; they have no magic to stir men’s blood and probably themselves will not be realised. Make big plans. Aim high in hope and work, remembering that a noble logical diagram, once recorded will never die, but long after we are gone, will be a living thing, asserting itself with ever growing insistency. Remember that our sons and grandsons are going to do things that will stagger us. Let your watchword be order and your beacon beauty.”
We look to deliver a legacy from every project we work on – delivering communities not just for today but for future generations to enjoy. This means listening to the local community, their needs and aspirations, and putting tangible community benefits at the heart of our vision.
Our speciality is placemaking. We design special places which ultimately means concentrating on the public and private space between buildings not just the buildings themselves to create that ‘sense of place’ that touches the soul and inspires emotional connection.
We take our environmental responsibilities very seriously. From residential to commercial buildings, the UK's built environment is responsible for 25% of the country’s greenhouse gas emissions. We believe that net-zero or net-negative carbon developments are needed if we want to grow the economy while dealing with the climate emergency.
We work in partnerships with innovators in the renewable energy sector, delivering the latest thinking in energy solutions and are committed to delivering 15-minute neighbourhoods and low-carbon transport choices in our developments.
We have learned from this experience that delivering fantastic, sustainable communities does not conflict with maximising returns for our funders and shareholders. We have gained a reputation for delivering complicated planning permissions on complex sites.
We pride ourselves on building close, professional relationships with all our stakeholders. We strive to be always the most reliable of partners.
Richard Olsen, Partner and Chief Executive
With 30 years’ experience in the property industry Richard combines detailed market knowledge with an entrepreneurial drive and an adventurous spirit giving him a well-proven ability to find the solution to even the most intractable property problems. His approach to business is simple: think of the future; be tenacious; pay meticulous attention to design and planning; deliver on time; always act with integrity.
Ben King, Partner and Director
Having gained a degree in Real Estate Management, Ben spent the early part of his career working as Land Director for Heronsbrook Homes. In 2006 Ben was appointed Group Land Director of the Wooldridge Group, responsible for operations and strategic growth of the business and remained in the role until 2019. With over twenty years’ experience in the land and development industry helping to build two successful companies, in 2020 Ben decided to form his own company, King Charles Homes.
Jean Woolley, Partner
Jean has a wealth of experience at the highest political and corporate level, and has been Richard’s business partner for over 20 years, since they worked on delivering the Royal Opera House and the Cardiff International Sports Village. Overseeing communication with all stakeholders and public engagement with local communities, Jean ensures their vision, creativity and ambition is balanced with pragmatism.
Mick Betteridge, Special Advisor
Since retiring from a full military career, Mick has run his own property rental business, was the Field Operations Manager for a major logistics support company which included setting up a field hospital for an oil and gas company in Uganda, and as Operations and Technical Director in the security and risk management sector he safely evacuated clients from a rapidly declining state in Libya. Mick also served as the CEO of a military charity, where he re-structured the fundraising and welfare delivery to wounded, injured, sick and those in need. Mick joined Orion Land from the major US Build to Rent specialist, Cortland, based in London, where he was the Chief of Staff and Head of UK Operations.
Cardiff International Sports Village
In 2004 Orion was appointed as Cardiff Council’s master development partner for the regeneration of the 80 acre Cardiff Bay site. We regenerated the contaminated site delivering new road infrastructure, an award-winning 50m Commonwealth standard swimming pool and associated leisure, a new temporary arena for the Cardiff Ice Devils, a white water rafting centre and significant retail space as well as securing planning permission for 1,000 bay-side homes. Orion’s involvement with the delivery of the site ceased in 2007.
Ascot Road, Watford
In partnership with the William Pears Group, Orion acquired the 4.4 acre Sun Printers industrial site in West Watford and achieved planning for a new community, including 489 homes, as well as cafes, shops, and space dedicated for community use. Orion and Cortland Partners, a US based build to rent operator, formed a partnership to deliver and operate the project.
Shepherds Bush Market
Working in co-operation with Hammersmith and Fulham Council and in partnership with Development Securities plc, Orion acquired Shepherds Bush Market from Transport for London. Planning consent included 215 new homes, an extension to the Market for 60 new businesses and a new outreach centre for the charity Broadway St Mungo, including a new library and theatre.