Hub and Bridges connect with Realstar again on Leeds BTR funding

Developer Hub and specialist impact investor, Bridges Fund Management, have signed a forward funding deal with Canadian real estate investment company Realstar, which owns residential rental brand Uncle, to deliver Uncle Leeds Phase 2 - a significant residential-led regeneration scheme in Leeds.

The £108 mln (€121 mln) forward-funding deal will support 488 build-to-rent (BTR) homes in the second Leeds development from the partnership.

A forward funding deal was agreed on Uncle Leeds Phase 1, the adjacent site, last year. Together, the two phases of the scheme will make a significant contribution to the regeneration of this exciting area of the city, delivering 951 homes across both sites.

This is Hub’s 11th forward funding deal and its fourth with Bridges and Realstar, following the first Leeds deal as well as two north London BTR developments – Wembley Link, which is currently under construction, and Uncle Wembley, which opened in May 2020.

In total, the partnership between Hub, Bridges and Realstar has now completed £370 mln of forward funding deals, with 1446 homes either completed or under construction.

Damien Sharkey, managing director at Hub, said: 'We are thrilled to have secured forward funding for our second development in Leeds, continuing our longstanding partnership with Realstar.

'This deal is testament to the quality of the scheme, and to HUB’s strong track record. Work has already started on site, and we look forward to delivering a scheme that will continue the transformation of this exciting area of Leeds, providing attainable homes for local people, as well as fantastic new public realm.

'The BTR sector is continuing to prove its resilience in turbulent times, and we are feeling very optimistic about 2023, with further deals coming forward over the next few months.'

Designed by local architects Carey Jones Chapman Tolcher (CJCT), the scheme includes extensive new public realm, taking advantage of the nearby canal as well as enhancing pedestrian and bicycle access to the city centre. The site is located in a growing mixed-use neighbourhood on Whitehall Road and will contribute to a wider development drive that is pulling the city’s centre to the west.

Simon Ringer, partner, and head of property funds at Bridges Fund Management, said: 'Our latest forward-funding partnership with Realstar is further evidence of the strong institutional demand for high-quality, highly sustainable residential assets.

'Uncle Leeds Phase 2 will perfectly complement our existing scheme in Leeds, addressing the clear local demand for quality lower-cost housing and creating attractive public realm that will benefit the whole community.'

Ryan Prince, vice chairman of Realstar and Founder of Uncle, said: 'In the last 10 years we have continued to see demand for high quality rentals increase.

'Uncle is committed to creating neighbourhoods that benefit our residents and the local areas around them. Our newest Uncle Leeds does just that, bringing beautiful design, innovative common areas and great resident managers to an exciting area of Leeds.'

Hub was advised by Knight Frank Frank and Addleshaw Goddard on this deal. RG Group has been appointed as main contractor. Works on site will begin immediately and are expected to complete in 2025.


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