John Laing Property has brought five new directors on to its board to help double its development portfolio to £300m over the next five years.

The company believes the market will soften in 1999, but is betting on the assumption that there will be a resurgence of demand by next year. These market conditions will offer opportunities to buy property cheaply, manage it for the short-term and then develop for the revival, according to chairman Derrick Ardern.

‘We are bringing management expertise on to the board to enable us to buy investments with development potential,’ he said.

The company will be looking for developments ranging from £10m to £100m across all sectors and all regions of the UK. ‘We intend to remain a trader/developer but will be willing to manage them for up to five years,’ said Ardern.

The five new board members are Chris Bond (offices and joint ventures), Steve Wherle (retail), Richard Robinson (project management), Susie Gray (property management) and Nigel Turner (industry and warehousing).