Residential developer HUB and pan-European real estate investment manager MARK have acquired 2 Snow Hill Plaza in Birmingham from a global institutional investor, with the intention to develop a Build to Rent scheme.
Under the plans, an existing building on the site, vacant for over a decade, will be redeveloped into 'high-quality homes for rent', alongside new public realm, mixed ground-floor commercial space and on-site residents’ amenities.
To date, HUB has completed £784 million worth of BTR, but this is the first deal on which HUB and MARK have partnered, with the two companies already exploring other opportunities to work together in the future.
The acquisition represents MARK’s entrance into the UK BTR market, with future acquisitions planned as part of the investment manager’s diversification strategy. The aim is for the firm to grow its residential exposure.
The company recently partnered with Credit Suisse for the first phase of its DOMA platform, which aims to amass a €1 billion pan-European rental housing portfolio. It is currently redeveloping the former Whiteleys department store in West London into a £1 billion residential-led mixed-use project alongside its joint venture partners.
Previously, MARK also created Meyer Homes, a build-to-sell residential platform that acquired 13 sites around Greater London.
For HUB, 2 Snow Hill Plaza will be its second project in Birmingham, after achieving consent for a 2,000-home mixed-use scheme in Digbeth in November 2020. The acquisition continues HUB’s expansion into key ‘lifestyle’ cities across the UK, with schemes also moving forward in Leeds and Edinburgh, as well as projects under construction in London and Maidenhead.
The stats certainly suggest that UK BTR is on the up, experiencing a record year in 2021, with investors committing £4.1 billion to the sector, according to CBRE. This was some £500 million higher than 2020's previous record
Tom Starkey, acquisitions manager at HUB, commented: “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."
He added: "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 of UK & Ireland at MARK, said: “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."
She added: "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, while BNP advised the vendor.