City’s first build-to-rent scheme completes

Stoke-on-Trent’s first build-to-rent scheme has reached practical completion, shortly after the neighbouring Hilton Garden Inn announced its official opening last week.

The development, which forms part of Genr8’s £250m Smithfield scheme in Hanley, is due to welcome its first residents from this week.

Clayworks is owned by Fortior Homes, and is its second development to complete, following on from Chamberlain Court in Penkhull and preceding the 128 home Saxon Place development at Lichfield Street in Hanley.

Cllr Abi Brown, leader of the city council and chair of Fortior Homes, said: “This feels like another really significant moment in the regeneration of Stoke-on-Trent. I doubt there are many city centres in the country right now which have seen both a major hotel and a separate 151-apartment block within touching distance of one another celebrate their official opening in the space of a week. I think that speaks volumes for the direction our city is heading in and is another example of how we are getting things done.

“Historically there has been a lack of residential development in Hanley compared to other similar-sized cities, and we’ve been clear from the start about the need to improve the city centre living offer. This development sets a benchmark for similar schemes that will follow and puts permanent residents in the heart of our city centre – providing a significant boost to footfall and nearby businesses at a crucial time for our economy.

“In spite of the challenges faced by the coronavirus, we are seeing huge progress in the city. We will continue to create choice and opportunities for our residents and continue to be an ambitious council that wants to attract equally ambitious partners to deliver jobs and prosperity for Stoke-on-Trent. We’re powering up all elements of the city to ensure we come out of the pandemic stronger on the other side.”

Richard Ingham, partner at Genr8 Developments, the developer delivering Smithfield, commented: “To have Clayworks and the Hilton Garden Inn opening so close together is brilliant – Smithfield is now a truly mixed-use neighbourhood and it’s really generating a buzz around the city.

“We’re proud to have brought this build-to-rent product to the region for the very first time, and the take-up has been great; having the scheme over half let pre-completion demonstrates the appetite within Stoke-on-Trent for high quality , contemporary, city centre living.

“The team at LIV has been working hard to ensure that our new residents will have a safe and smooth move-in process, in keeping with COVID-19 guidelines.

“Smithfield will play a crucial role in powering up the city in the aftermath of the pandemic. The Estates art exhibition currently in situ at the site has proved really popular and has driven much-needed footfall back into the city centre. This, coupled with the influx of people living and spending in the city that Clayworks will bring, will help breathe life back into Hanley and Stoke-on-Trent.”

Build-to-rent specialist LIV Group was selected by Genr8 and Fortior to oversee the management and operations of the apartments, with the Leeds-headquartered firm successfully letting more than half of the units at Clayworks prior to completion.