European investor swoops for major Birmingham site

2 Snow Hill Plaza

European real estate investment manager MARK and residential developer HUB have bought 2 Snow Hill Plaza in Birmingham from a global institutional investor, and has revealed plans to develop a build-to-rent (BTR) scheme.

An existing building on the site, vacant for more than a decade, will be redeveloped into homes for rent alongside new public realm, mixed ground-floor commercial space and on-site residents’ amenities.

HUB has completed £784m worth of BTR deals to date. This is the first deal on which HUB and MARK have partnered, with the two companies saying they are already exploring other opportunities to work together in the future.

The acquisition marks MARK’s entrance into the UK BTR market, with future acquisitions planned.

MARK recently partnered with Credit Suisse for the first phase of its DOMA platform, which aims to amass a €1bn pan-European rental housing portfolio. The company is currently redeveloping the former Whiteleys department store into a £1bn residential-led mixed-use project alongside its joint venture partners. MARK also previously created Meyer Homes, a build-to-sell residential platform which acquired 13 sites around Greater London.

2 Snow Hill Plaza will be HUB’s second project in Birmingham, after achieving consent for a 2,000-home mixed-use scheme in Digbeth in November 2020.

Tom Starkey, acquisitions manager at HUB, said: “HUB is delighted to have acquired another site in Birmingham, a city with strong growth fundamentals and a forward-thinking City Council. Following a successful 2021 in which HUB completed four acquisitions, we are carrying this momentum into 2022 with our first deal with MARK. We hope to build on this relationship with further acquisitions in the future.

Our return to Birmingham sees HUB move into Snow Hill, a particularly exciting part of the city given its proximity to workplace and amenity and the continuing demand for high quality housing. HUB is excited to work closely with Birmingham City Council and local stakeholders to bring forward thoughtful regeneration here.”

Lily Lin, managing director, UK & Ireland, at MARK added: “Residential for rent forms a key part of our multi-platform strategy, as we look to grow our presence in asset classes that are underpinned by long-term structural growth drivers and have demonstrated resilience during the pandemic.

“This acquisition will be the first of many as we look to create a wider UK build-to-rent platform that complements our existing residential strategies.

“With a long and proven track record of delivering high quality schemes, HUB is an excellent partner to be working with on our first UK BTR development and we look forward to developing our relationship further.”

CBRE advised HUB and MARK. BNP advised the vendor.