London’s largest purpose-built rental community – Greenford Quay in the London Borough of Ealing – is ready to be unveiled by leading developer Greystar, one of the main players in the ever-growing Build to Rent (BTR) market.
Greystar has soft-launched the scheme since November 2019, when the first residents moved in, but is now ready to offically reveal the development to the media.
The US-based firm originally entered the European market in 2013 to acquire and develop purpose-built student accommodation and rental housing, and launched the ‘Greystar U.K. Multifamily Fund I’ in May 2019, a new flagship fund series to develop purpose-built rental housing properties in the UK with a target raise of £750 million.
The developer has previously stated its goal of delivering 10,000 BTR units in London by 2022, and the Greenford Quay development on the border of Greenford and Northolt – two historic London suburbs – will ultimately deliver 2,118 new homes overlooking the Grand Union Canal.
With the first building of the development completed in under 19 months, thanks to innovative modular construction methods, Greystar argues it is setting a new standard in the UK ‘for community-led rental properties’ combined with ‘sustainable operational excellence’.
The restored Art Deco building which forms the focal point of the development – known as Tillermans – is made up of 379 apartments (studio, one, two and three-bedroom) and faces onto a landscaped public square, with ‘extensive landscaping and water features’.
The first residents have already moved in and been established in the building for some time, and Greystar says that demand is proving to be strong. So far, existing and prospective residents have singled out the service and security provided by the on-site management team, as well as the attractiveness of Greenford Quay’s various amenities.
Greenford Quay, unlike many other developments in the UK that were originally for sale and then converted into rental housing, was designed specifically with renting in mind from the outset.
Greystar’s in-house team has led this approach, tailoring each new development to meet the needs of prospective tenants. The developer is directly in charge of operating the new community and supporting its residents, with a dedicated on-site team providing customer service that includes management, maintenance, leasing and events services. Various events have already been held for residents and the local community, while street food vendors have occasionally appeared in the landscaped public areas.
Greenford Quay is aiming to become a new destination and established community with regular on-site family-friendly events.
Todd Marler, senior director of multifamily operations in UK & IE at Greystar, said: “Greenford Quay is a significant milestone for Greystar in Europe, as it is the first development we have overseen from inception to delivery. There is a severe shortage of high-quality homes across our major cities and we are delivering a professionally managed solution that we hope will open people’s eyes to the long-term benefits of renting, particularly in the UK.”
Paul Naylor, community manager at Greenford Quay, added: “Greenford Quay has been thoughtfully designed to build a sense of community by fostering interactions inside and outside the buildings. It is a delight to see our on-site team interacting with our new residents – together helping to bring the development to life. Our aim is to provide a level of service that renters rarely experience in the UK, but certainly deserve. The flexibility we provide is appealing to residents, as they can enjoy one of our secure, high-quality homes and all the benefits of our lively community for as long as they want.”
What was there before?
Greenford Quay is the redevelopment of the 20-acre waterfront site previously occupied by GlaxoSmithKline and the Sunblest Bakery. For a long while before the development began, the area had been neglected, half-derelict and overgrown, with numerous disused buildings serving no obvious purpose.
After many years of speculation about what the area would be turned into – including talks of a cinema complex or shopping centre – Greystar acquired the sites in January 2016 and consulted extensively with Ealing Council, the Greater London Authority, local businesses, residents and other stakeholders to develop proposals for modern canal-side living in the heart of Greenford, bringing the derelict site back to life.
The finished development is set to provide a new health centre, primary school, shops and restaurants that, once complete, ‘will benefit the neighbouring community’, while also playing a part in addressing London’s housing shortage.
Work on the first building began in June 2018 and was finished 19 months later – with the speed of the build possible thanks to the innovative methods of construction used.
The entire development is set to be completed far quicker than a ‘for sale’ scheme, following the decision to deliver it using modular methods in partnership with Tide Construction.
The ‘high-quality’ residential units are largely built off-site and slotted into the buildings, which significantly reduces construction time, with a reduction of up to 80% of typical construction traffic on-site.
This, in turn, lessens the disruption to local residents and the building’s carbon footprint through greatly minimising the construction waste normally generated.
What does Greenford offer?
One of London’s most popular commuter towns, Greenford is surrounded by Northolt, Wembley, Perivale and Harrow and is arguably best known for its Central Line tube station. This station sits in Zone 4, with Zone 1 accessible in 20 minutes and Westfield London in Shepherd’s Bush even closer than that.
Pre-Covid, Greenford station was topping four million annual entries and exits and, as well as Underground services on the Central Line, it is also the terminus of the National Rail Greenford Branch Line.
Greenford Quay is about a seven-minute walk from the station and aims to offer the best of town and country life. It is surrounded by nature and only a short stroll from the ancient woodland at Horsenden Hill and Paradise Fields – a rich natural habitat famous for grassland, ponds, reed beds, lagoons and wildflower meadows.
The area surrounding Greenford Quay is a mixture of nature, residential and industrial, with the open land of Greenford originally attracting various renowned British industries that also benefitted from the railway and canal in terms of trade and connectivity.
With a past rooted in wheat and tea – the area was previously home to Tetley’s headquarters and Lyons’ factories, as well as bread-making facilities – Greystar is aiming to reimagine the site for modern 21st-century living.
*All images courtesy of Greystar and Billy Bolton
Source: Property Investor Today