Developer Barberry Group is seeking a finance partner to build 404 homes for rent in the Midlands city of Coventry. The £70 million project has the potential to meet growing demand in the area for new homes, particularly among the local population of young professionals.
Barberry owns the Bishop Gate site in the city, which was formerly the location of the city’s Royal Mail sorting office. The company has previously proposed a retail development with a superstore, and a mixed use office and retail scheme, neither of which has attracted sufficient interest.
Barberry managing director Henry Bellfield told Property Week: “The development is satisfying the shift in preference towards city centre living, which is attracted to the social and leisure amenities of town centres. At the moment, we feel residential and particularly PRS is something that produces a far more exciting scheme.”
A design incorporating one and two bedroom flats, above ground floor retail, has been drawn up by architects Assael, and submitted for planning approval. The local authority has agreed in principle that a private rented residential project would be appropriate for the site.
According to research by CBRE, Coventry is one of the most attractive regional locations for residential development. In an assessment carried out in March 2014, the consultants listed the city ninth in a ranking of city markets, saying: “Coventry has the potential for above average rental growth as it has the strongest growth in working age population.” Its proportion of private rented households was put at just 20.6%, with average city centre rent of £595 per month delivering a gross yield of 7.5%.
Said CBRE’s Chris Lacey: “Coventry is the most obvious city to focus on, but in understanding the fundamental investment drivers, this is a project that can deliver exceptional returns.”