Property investor ploughs £53m into Jewellery Quarter apartment scheme

A major property investor is to plough £53m into the development of a new apartment scheme in Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter.

Insurance giant Legal & General has revealed it is investing the funds into the new Newhall Square development, which secured planning permission last month.

The 220-apartment scheme, which includes a new public square surrounded by new retail units and 61 parking spaces, has been designed by architecture practice Associated Architects and will be developed by Spitfire Bespoke Homes, part of Coleshill-based IM Properties.

L&G has agreed a forward-funding deal with Spitfire which will ensure the development is completed to schedule.

The development occupies the former site of the Elkington & Co. Electroplating works and subsequently Birmingham Museum of Science and Industry on Newhall Street and Charlotte Street.

The scheme offers private rented sector (PRS) one and two-bed apartments and townhouses plus a range of residential amenities, including concierge services and residents’ lounge.

Legal & General has been attracted to the Build To Rent (BTR) aspect of the development, having funded five similar BTR schemes elsewhere in the UK. It said this latest investment brought its total pipeline of BTR units to more than 1,700.

In total, L&G is investing around £1bn into the BTR sector, having raised pension fund capital for an open-ended BTR fund as well as a £600m joint venture between Legal & General Capital and PGGM.

The investment is designed to create a BTR asset class and it is looking to use its capital to address the chronic long-term lack of housing supply and meet the increasing demand for affordable, quality rental accommodation.

Its existing sites in Leeds, Bristol, Bath and Walthamstow are progressing well and its scheme in Salford has been home to residents since June.

Dan Batterton, BTR Fund Manager at LGIM Real Assets, said the Newhall Square scheme was in a popular part of the city where demand was high.

“The location is ideally suited to high-quality, affordable and professionally-managed rental accommodation that can help to address the supply demand imbalance in the city. Spitfire was the natural partner to deliver this project as they are known for their design-led approach and have a track record of delivering outstanding quality homes across the UK.

“Given the huge infrastructure investment in Birmingham, it has been a target location for us in building a high-quality and well diversified portfolio of BTR schemes.”

He said the investor was now scouting the country for further BTR opportunities.

David Jervis, managing director of Spitfire Bespoke Homes, said: “We are excited to be working with L&G to bring our expertise and high standards to the BTR sector. We understand that renting is a now a tenure of choice for many urban dwellers, and recognise that they have high expectations.

“This is a prime opportunity for Spitfire Bespoke Homes to make its mark on the BTR market and extend our offering to a section of the market which is befitting of our own approach to quality homes in great locations.”

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