Even in these troubled times, development work is still ongoing where it is safe and possible to do so, as evidenced by the planning application Moda Living and Apache Capital have now submitted to Birmingham City Council for a 722-home Build to Rent (BTR) project on Great Charles Street.
It marks the partnership’s second BTR project in Birmingham and follows extensive consultation with the council and other stakeholders.
Moda Living (Moda), one of the most prominent names in the burgeoning Build to Rent sector, has worked closely with funding partner Apache to submit the plans to deliver hundreds of new homes to the UK’s Second City.
The plans were formed following extensive engagement with key stakeholders including Birmingham City Council, the Jewellery Quarter Development Trust, the Jewellery Quarter Business Improvement District, Colmore Business Improvement District, the Birmingham Civic Society, local councillors, local businesses and members of the public.
Towards the end of February, before the coronavirus crisis had taken hold, Moda conducted a two-day public exhibition which was attended by more than 175 individuals.
We previously covered the plans for the major new Birmingham project in this article. If planning permission is granted, the new scheme would be Moda and Apache Capital’s second site under development in the city after ‘The Mercian’ on Broad Street. The construction of The Mercian was funded by a £118 million debt facility secured by Apache Capital from Goldman Sachs, marking the US investment giant’s first-ever UK BTR development loan.
Moda and Apache Capital’s total investment of £445 million is set to eventually deliver 1,200 homes in Birmingham. The firms say this will support Birmingham’s ‘Big City Plan’ and account for almost a quarter (24%) of the council’s target of 5,000 new homes per year in the city.
The joint venture partners now have some £850 million of live schemes under construction across the UK, the first phase of a £2.5 billion pipeline of more than 7,500 rent-only homes. Moda and Apache insist they are on target to be opening 125 homes a month by the end of 2021, with further projects across the UK in varying stages of design, planning and development. This includes a ‘landmark’ £260 million BTR neighbourhood in Hove, which recently got the go-ahead.
Currently, Moda and Apache have the largest privately funded Build to Rent platform in the UK, attracting £400 million in capital. This includes investment from major UK and US institutional investors such as Harrison Street and NFU Mutual.
Tony Brooks, managing director at Moda, said: “Our Build to Rent projects are introducing a completely new way of living and working. We provide more opportunities, amenities, options and facilities than ever before, all built sustainably with an especially strong commitment to their local communities, something that is even more important at difficult times such as this. At Moda we are certain that service, health and wellbeing and support for residents must be at the core of what we do.”
He added that, despite the current uncertainty and the challenges facing us all, Moda remains absolutely committed to Birmingham. “We believe this submission puts the interests of the city and people of Birmingham first. The site, currently a car park, will be an exciting new neighbourhood in the prosperity of the city,” Brooks said. “The local authority has been fantastic in helping to guide us on our journey and we look forward to continuing to invest in the city when the present situation improves.”
Richard Jackson, co-founder and managing director of Apache Capital Partners, said: “Like our recently consented project in Brighton and Hove, Great Charles Street will transform a long-neglected brownfield site into a thriving community while also making a serious contribution to the city’s future housing supply.”
He added: “With the youngest population of any large city in Europe and massive infrastructure investment planned, Birmingham has strong growth potential that is further underpinned by the presence of top-tier universities and major employers. This all drives demand for high-quality rental housing like what we’re delivering with Moda, which will set new benchmarks for what it means to rent.”
Moda and Apache Capital officially opened their flagship 35-storey, 466 new home Angels Garden neighbourhood, in Manchester, in October last year, as well as starting on-site at New York Square, Leeds, with a further 515 homes. Additionally, further construction is underway at The Lexington in Liverpool, a 34-storey tower on Liverpool Waters that is set to deliver another 325 homes.