Update – Sheffield regen, RAF ‘garden village’ and Bloomsbury office to resi

5 March 2021 | Investment

The planning applications include a new 100,000 sq ft office building, ground floor retail and leisure space, and 368 Build to Rent residential apartments.

The applications represent a significant milestone for the much-anticipated £300 million mixed-use scheme. Once complete, the overall scheme is expected to create around 6,000 new jobs as well as supporting Sheffield’s major housing needs.

Urbo (West Bar) Ltd is a joint venture between Urbo Regeneration and Peveril Securities (the development arm of the Bowmer and Kirkland Group). They have submitted the application for No.1 West Bar Square, made up of eight storeys of large floorplate office accommodation with ground floor retail and leisure provision. Designs have been brought forward by leading architects 5plus.

Legal & General, meanwhile, says it is committed to investing in Sheffield and to supporting its post-crisis growth ambitions, recognising the large potential the city has to offer.

Peter Swallow, managing director at Urbo, said: “We are pleased to be able to submit this application to kickstart our delivery plans for the first phase at West Bar which ultimately aims to deliver up to 1 million sq ft of vibrant new mixed-use space. 

Nigel Wilson, chief executive of Legal & General, said: There has never been a more important time to invest in our regional cities, build back better and support new job creation. Legal & General is in a unique position to support the UK economic recovery through inclusive capitalism, investing long-term, patient capital into real assets to help regenerate our cities at pace. Our vision for West Bar is to deliver a much-needed new quarter for the centre of Sheffield, delivering on the city’s housing, jobs and regeneration needs.”

For several years now, Urbo has been working with Sheffield City Council to bring forward the regeneration scheme, which enjoys a prominent position on the Inner Ring Road between the ‘booming’ Kelham Island district and Sheffield’s Cathedral and Castlegate Quarters.

In 2017, West Bar was granted outline planning consent and, in 2019, a Compulsory Purchase Order to complete assembly of site was confirmed. The site is now fully assembled and ready for work to start. Subject to reserved matters planning consent, Urbo expects to commence on site later this year.

Regeneration project in Sheffield set for green light 

Hallam Towers in Sheffield is expected to receive further planning permission to create an additional two floors inside the new 15-storey tower at the site on Fulwood Road.  

This will take the total number of one, two and three-bedroom apartments up to 103, complete with ‘unrivalled views across the city’ and a swimming pool and gym on the ground floor level.  

The additional two floors are expected to be approved by Sheffield City Council to help transform the former Hallam Towers hotel into a ‘rare collection’ of apartments and penthouses.   

Redbrik, appointed as the sales agent for the development, already has over 75 people on a waiting list as it edges closer to launch. 

“The development is being sympathetically restored back to its recognisable form, using the latest materials and technology that the construction industry has to offer,” Peter Lee, a director at the firm, said.  

“There is a huge demand for high-quality homes in South West Sheffield, and we’re thrilled to see it being filled by a regeneration project such as Hallam Towers.” 

Earlier this year, Redbrik Land & New Homes became part of the Land & New Homes Network, with the network’s national coverage meaning Redbrik has relationships with builders, developers, investors and non-competing estate agents from across the UK.  

You can find out more information about Hallam Towers here.

Former RAF base set for ‘garden village’ transformation  

Innes England has revealed aerial footage of the former RAF Newton site, part of which will soon be transformed into Nottinghamshire’s very first ‘garden village’.

The commercial property agent agreed the deal on the 250-acre site with housebuilder Redrow Homes.

The development, located near Bingham, has already seen significant development, with Bellway and David Wilson Homes delivering the first phase of the scheme. The second phase – to be known as ‘Newton Garden Village’ – will see Redrow Homes build 528 new homes. 

Innes England, with offices in Nottingham, Derby and Leicester, has worked with the landowner for a number of years and director Craig Straw says he is delighted to see this important second phase of the development taking shape.

“We have a long-standing relationship with the landowner and have really offered a ‘cradle to grave’ service on this site,” he explained. “We have worked with them for a number of years to ensure the viability of this site for development and are very pleased to see this second phase of housing moving forwards.”

He added: “This is a really interesting site, which included a number of vacant aircraft hangars from its time as a MOD base when the site was originally acquired. Part of our role was letting those to a range of regional, national and international operators, which in turn generated an income stream to support the promotion of the site.”

“This is a hugely important strategic development site and we are very pleased indeed to have agreed a deal with Redrow Homes East Midlands to deliver the second phase. Redrow’s plans will see a really fantastic scheme delivered here and we are excited to see things start to happen on-site over the coming months.”

Once complete, Newton Garden Village will comprise 528 new homes, of between two and five bedrooms, alongside open space, traditional village greens and allotments, offering ‘wildlife-rich spaces’ that are ‘easily accessible’ to the local community.

In addition, Redrow Homes will be supporting the creation of a new primary school, community hall and local centre along with sports pitches for community access.

“We are delighted to have secured consent to launch our second development in Nottinghamshire and our very first garden village in the East Midlands,” Martyn Pask, managing director for Redrow East Midlands, said.

“With vast amounts of green, open space, the development will offer excellent transport links across the country, while also offering a wonderful community right on its doorstep.

ASK provides £3.25m senior loan for office to resi conversion

A real estate funding specialist has lent £3.25 million against two adjacent freehold office buildings on Great James Street, in the heart of London’s fashionable Bloomsbury.

ASK Partners (ASK) has lent to the borrower, GFZ Investments (GFZ), an independent property company with a ‘strong focus and significant expertise’ in acquiring often-historic properties in prime central London for conversion into high specification living.

Working with a professional team, including a heritage consultant and Marek Wojciechowski Architects, GFZ has submitted a planning application to convert the buildings on Great James Street back to their former grandeur as two five-storey townhouses.

In the 18th and 19th centuries Bloomsbury was a predominantly residential area – and a very fashionable one at that – but in recent years, due to the size of the properties, many were converted into offices and commercial premises.

Now, though, there has been a resurgence in residential demand, particularly at the high-end of the market, as a result of the pandemic and the increase in remote working this had led to. As a result, a significant number of these buildings are being converted back.

This isn’t especially surprising as Bloomsbury has both in-demand period housing stock and an outstanding location, with the British Museum, Covent Garden, University College Hospital, Great Ormond Street and King’s Cross St Pancras all within a short walk. 

“Having already acquired and successfully achieved planning permission on other similar properties in Bloomsbury, we were delighted that ASK was able to assist with arranging the finance for these two properties on Great James Street,” Noel Leonard, director at GFZ, said.

“The ASK team delivered quickly and demonstrated their expertise. We look forward to working with them again on future projects.” 

Daniel Austin, co-founder and chief executive of ASK, added: “This is a great development site in a very strong location that we were delighted to help fund.  We are seeing an increased demand for luxury period homes in prime central London locations and GFZ has an excellent track record in this area. This deal marks our fifth transaction since the beginning of 2021 and brings our total lending for the year to circa £45 million; a positive sign for the London real estate market.” 

TLT supports affordable housing acquisition

UK law firm TLT has advised affordable housing provider Network Homes on the purchase of a large mixed-use scheme made up of 100 residential units and over 1,700 square metres of commercial space. All of the residential units will be affordable housing for rent or shared ownership.  

Network Homes, which provides homes in London, Hertfordshire and the South East, has acquired the large development at Burnt Oak Broadway, near Edgware, from Edgware Iron Works Limited.

The scheme on the site of a former supermarket includes new commercial space to support new jobs and local businesses. 

TLT advised Network Homes on all aspects of the acquisition, providing expertise from the firm’s real estate, tax, construction, planning and corporate teams.

Shazia Bashir, partner at TLT, said: “This was an exciting transaction which presented many challenges and required expertise from a range of specialists across the various teams at TLT. We’re delighted to support Network Homes with this acquisition which demonstrates their ongoing commitment to affordable housing.”

David Gooch, executive director for development at Network Homes, added: “This is a fantastic development which will transform a derelict site into much-needed affordable homes both for rent and for shared ownership, offering people their first step on the housing ladder. The new commercial units will also create employment opportunities and support economic growth as we recover from the pandemic.”

“We are grateful to TLT for their diligent approach and patience, and for their help overcoming a significant range of complex issues throughout the transaction.”

Brum-based developer appointed to redevelop Transport House

Lastly, Detail has been appointed Development Manager for the redevelopment of Transport House in West Bromwich, the ‘landmark building’ acquired by Bramham Properties in January 2021 after being placed on the market in 2019. The redevelopment will be called ‘Transport Works.’

Bramham Properties & HCT Homes has a mission, as a joint venture, to create value and positively impact the shortfall in new homes across the UK.

The business operates across the UK and aims to identify the many opportunities overlooked by traditional developers. The partnership between Bramham Properties, HCT Homes and Detail ‘will demonstrate a common vision to create long-term value within Sandwell.’

The former office building, located on Victoria Street, is close to the town centre and a short walk to the Metro line, bus station, and other key amenities. Work to develop the building will start this quarter with an anticipated completion in Q2 2022. The total investment value for the project is anticipated to be around £5 million.

Update – Sheffield regen, RAF ‘garden village’ and Bloomsbury office to resi

Sundip Shihn, director at Bramham Properties, said: “We have evaluated areas of growth and believe West Bromwich and Sandwell to be a tremendous opportunity, and we look forward to working with our trusted development partners.”

Thinesh Thayanithy, director at HCT Homes, added: “Detail shares our vision for Transport Works, and our optimism for West Bromwich and Sandwell. The newly redeveloped Transport Works will celebrate the area’s cultural and industrial heritage, through the thoughtful appreciation of streetscapes, access to open space, and community engagement.”

Sunny Johal, director at Detail, commented: “The redevelopment of Transport House is an exciting opportunity for West Bromwich, bringing a vacant building back into use as a modern residential development. We are delighted to have been appointed as Development Managers for HCT Homes and look forward to bringing this proposal to life as part of our continued contribution to the regeneration of West Bromwich.”

This post has originally been featured in Property Investor Today.