After spending several years working together as quantity surveyors in Saudi Arabia, Graham Aggett and Colin Cumberland decided they’d had enough of working for other people and set up Edinburgh-based Applecross Properties. The two founders started out doing a couple of developments on their own before realising the best way to grow the company was to take some external equity finance. “We sold a third of the business to a silent investor in 1982, which we bought back in 2000,” says Aggett. The temporary sacrifice paid off.
Today Applecross is renowned for being the most exclusive apartment-builder in Edinburgh – its current penthouse apartments are selling for up to £1.95m each. The company has a turnover of £46.6m, employs 90 people and has also entered into joint ventures with several other Scottish property companies, including the Premier Property Group. Aggett says their only impediment to growth is the government’s Planning Gain regulations: “They keep saying we need to build more houses and then keep making it harder to do so!” In particular, he cites environmental regulations: “Those goalposts are getting harder to hit so we need to adapt – sustainable issues are here to stay.”