Q&A with Alex Statham, Director at Banks Long & CoMeet the man who project managed the £70 million Cornhill Quarter regeneration
Alex Statham has been an integral part of the Banks Long & Co team since 2016, spearheading the highly anticipated Cornhill Quarter regeneration project since his arrival.
In 2019, Alex was made the firm’s sixth director, and as part of the Building & Cost Consultancy Team, he leads on project management and bringing in new business. Find out more in our Q&A below...
So Alex, how did the opportunity to join Banks Long & Co come about?
I’ve been here for four-and-a-half years, but Banks Long & Co actually offered me a job seven years ago. This was at the end of a project they were managing, when I was the technical representative acting on behalf of the client. The Banks Long & Co team knew I was from Lincoln and liked how I approached negotiations and demonstrated my expertise. It was like an 18-month job interview!
I ended up staying where I was for a while, and moved to Banks Long & Co when they offered me a project management position later down the line. I spoke with the team and they showed me a brochure for the Cornhill Quarter Development: the project I was brought on to manage and have been managing ever since.
It was a no-brainer; I really wanted to do it.
What persuaded you to join the team?
The pull of the Cornhill Quarter project was massive; it was a mega, £70 million development at a great company in a part of Lincoln I knew really well.
It’s a great project for me as an individual and for the business because it’s what every town and city wants to do to reinvent themselves when shops are closing on the High Street. We were right at the start of that.
The business also had big plans to grow the Building & Cost Consultancy team. That was a really exciting opportunity that I wanted to be part of.
How does it feel to walk around the Cornhill Quarter now?
I absolutely love the Cornhill Quarter and am so proud of it. I took my wife and kids last year and they really enjoyed it.
The Everyman Cinema had just opened, so that was the first place we went. The person working there had no idea who I was, but we asked if we could have a quick look around and they took us on a complete guided tour! We then went to 200 Degrees for a coffee and Doughnotts for a treat; everyone had a great time.
Seeing it full of people shopping, eating and drinking with the sun out, it looks absolutely brilliant.
What do you love the most about your job?
Building something that’s going to be used and enjoyed by people and seeing the end product.
I really like the heritage work, too. It’s so interesting. We’ve found all sorts in some of the old buildings, from photographs to unused gravestones at old stonemasons. The photographs were of the Queen’s coronation on Sincil Bank, and were found in an envelope buried in rubble.
The Co-op employed a historian to complete a couple of history books for the Cornhill Quarter with lots of photos so we used them as part of that. Thanks to the research, all of the shopfronts have been restored to how they used to look.
Every building has had something we’ve uncovered, especially when we get to go into areas that nobody has been in for decades. The Drill Hall, for instance, still has some old shooting ranges underground, because it used to be where they trained the army.
What do you like about Lincoln?
Lincoln was definitely a big pull in convincing me to join Banks Long & Co. It’s a beautiful city and easily commutable.
It’s actually quicker to get to Lincoln from my house in Nottingham than it was to get to my old place of work in Beeston, Nottingham.
Apart from the Cornhill Quarter, what’s your favourite thing about Lincoln?
Uphill Lincoln is amazing, and another huge benefit of coming to work at Banks Long. As a location, there isn’t anything that could better it. It’s beautiful up here with the architecture and independent retailers, pubs and restaurants.
Every day at the office, I walk around the Cathedral, as well as the lovely streets and paths, Arboretum and Castle… When the Christmas Market is on, we’re right in the middle of it, too.
What’s your favourite restaurant?
I love Ole Ole at The Lawn. We had an excellent Christmas party there a couple of years ago - it’s fantastic.
What would you say to someone considering moving to Lincolnshire?
Do it! Spend some time here and that’ll make it an easy decision. There are lots of amazing places around here. Woodhall Spa is one of our favourites; it’s like it’s stuck in time but it’s brilliant and so unique.
What do you enjoy the most about project management?
I love driving past places and showing my family what I’ve helped build. It’s there forever - you’re leaving a legacy behind. After all, what is a city without any of its buildings?
Buildings dictate so much about our lives on all sorts of different levels. The better the environment, the happier people are. They really do lift people.
Where does the emotion of a building come into project management?
Every part of a project means something. We are there from the initial idea through to a complete project being handed over and beyond. We are involved in driving every single part and feed into every process.
If someone wants to spend a million pounds on something, I will do everything possible to get the most value out of that million pounds. We treat it like it’s our own money and make sure it’s spent in the right way to make the project the best it can be.
What is your favourite film?
That’s a tricky one; I love films. The first one that comes to my head is Gladiator; a bit of a cliche but it’s an amazing movie and soundtrack.
I’ve only ever seen one film that I thought was terrible and that was Mrs Brown’s Boys. I took my dad for Father’s Day; he loved it but my brother and I hated it!
Interstellar and Last Samurai are two others at the top of my list.
What’s your favourite TV show?
I don’t like watching things everyone else is watching, so it took me a while to get into Game of Thrones. My wife and I started watching it about halfway through season six and were doing three or four episodes every night to catch up in the space of a few weeks. It’s just awesome and one of the best things we’ve watched in a long time.
Snowpiercer on Netflix is a brilliant series, too.
Who’s your favourite sports team?
Bath Rugby Club. I’ve always played rugby, but when I really started getting into watching it, my favourite England players played for Bath and they just played the best rugby.
I always like to see Lincoln City FC do well but I’m more of a rugby man.
What do you enjoy doing outside of work?
Spending time with my family, getting out and about for walks around Derbyshire.
I also like my DIY, which is an allied interest with project management. The more you know about these things, the more value you can add.
Do you ever find yourself project managing other areas of your life?
I once did a Gantt chart for a Christmas dinner to map out all the timings. That’s probably the saddest project management thing I’ve ever done!
What’s the best fact you know off by heart?
A cow can walk up stairs but not down them.
Meet the rest of the team
Wondering who Alex works alongside at Banks Long & Co? Meet the team and explore our specialist divisions to learn more.