Downing plans development spree following £388m disposal deal

River Street Tower

Property developer Downing has sold five properties from its portfolio to Greystar Real Estate in a deal worth £388m, as it focuses on future growth.

The acquisitions mark the continued expansion plans of the Liverpool-based property group, which include more than £1bn-worth of current developments in the pipeline at sites across the UK.

Greystar Real Estate Partners, a US-based player in the investment, development, and management of high quality rental housing, acquired four purpose-built student accommodation buildings and a build-to-rent asset.

The properties include: River Street Tower in Manchester; Holbrook and Pound Field in London and City Point in Coventry, which, together comprise a total of 1,807 beds.

Built-to-rent asset, City Club, in Coventry, which includes 100 homes, was also part of the multimillion-pound deal. Greystar plans to operate the development as housing for young professionals.

Founder of Downing, George Downing, said: “We invested heavily to develop these sites to the highest possible standard and are extremely proud of what we have achieved. All assets currently have strong occupancy and boast high quality amenities including gyms, cinema rooms and terraces.

“It is a reflection of the quality of these assets and Downing’s approach that we secured such strong interest from large institutional investors.

“We are proud to be setting the standards in terms of design, quality of build and management of these residential schemes and also to be setting the bar in terms of transformational place-making and regeneration.”

He added: “This announcement marks an exciting milestone for our business. With over £1bn-worth of developments in the pipeline at sites across the UK, the agreement we have reached with Greystar will allow us to look for opportunities to grow our development programme further.”

The five assets will be owned and managed by Greystar, which plans to continue to invest to maximise value through leasing, asset improvements and other capital projects. Existing staff at the properties will join the team at Greystar as part the acquisition.

Ben Mowbray, senior director – UK investment, Greystar, said: “Our growth strategy in the UK is underpinned by strong, long term market fundamentals. With the expectation that the UK’s 18-year-old population is set to grow by 2.1% per annum until 2030, Greystar is well positioned to capitalise on increasing demand for high quality student accommodation.

“Meanwhile, we will be introducing young professional housing to our portfolio in the UK for the first time, which has been very successful in our other European markets.”