Esteemed investment firm Abrdn has come to an agreement with the John Lewis Partnership worth an incredible £500 million. That money will go towards not only building 1,000 new residential rental homes but also helping with much-needed redevelopment for three sites in Waitrose simultaneously. All of this comes as the first part of a much larger plan – one that will see up to 10,000 new homes built in the areas over the course of the next ten years.
All told, Abrdn is setting out to redevelop various Waitrose shops in Bromley and West Ealing. Additional work will be completed at a John Lewis warehouse in Reading that currently sits without a tenant.
The new homes will be furnished with products obtained directly from John Lewis. The site itself had been chosen because of its close distance to various transportation hubs and its overall centralized location.
It’s an exciting move for the John Lewis Partnership, and it has come along at best possible moment. That organization already warned that due to economic uncertainty from the still-ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, coupled with a difficult end-of-the-year period in the months ahead of the holiday season, have had a number of adverse effects – including those pertaining to the company’s annual staff bonuses. This move into the rental market, coupled with the participation of the experts at Abrdn, will help generate a stable source of income that can help right the proverbial ship well into the future.
Indeed, it’s a turn of events that people with both organizations are already celebrating. The executive director for strategy and commercial development at John Lewis said that the partnership with Abrdn was a “major milestone” in John Lewis’ ambition to create essential, quality housing in various communities. In addition to furnishings from John Lewis, residents of the homes can expect to enjoy top-of-the-line service and state-of-the-art facilities once they are eventually completed.
It’s important to note that while the deal is reported to be worth as much as £500 million, both parties are being tight-lipped about exactly how much each contributes. When the sites eventually open, they will be a mixture of one to three-bedroom apartments.
Even though this partnership is still in its early stages, things are already moving quickly. The first round of planning applications for the sites to be redeveloped is expected to be submitted early in the new year. At the same time, a public consultation process pertaining to the site in Reading will begin in earnest.
Provided all submitted plans are approved, after the first submission for consent takes place, construction can begin at both West Ealing and Bromley at some point during 2024. Residents can expect to be able to move into the new units as soon as 2027.
Beyond that, there isn’t much in the way of a timeline for the Reading properly because the first proposals for what shape the project will take won’t be completed until well into 2023. However, representatives from John Lewis said that they would use the next few weeks and months to continue assessing other sites that could allow construction to begin sooner.
All of this comes at an exciting time for the residential property market in the United Kingdom. Officials from John Lewis estimate that the market will double in size by as soon as 2026. During that time, roughly 30,000 new homes are expected to be completed yearly. This is critical because there is an estimated shortfall of more than 75,000 rental homes in London alone.
Not only that, but renters have routinely faced a massive cost increase over the last few years. Much has been made about how private landlords are quickly raising rental rates to make up for their shortcomings – a move that has only exacerbated what many see to be a legitimate crisis in terms of the cost of living in the country.
It’s also important to note that the John Lewis Partnership’s relationship with Abrdn will include various community-driven commitments that emphasize affordable housing and sustainable housing. This is part of their pledge to become a “net zero” business by as soon as 2035.
It’s equally important to note that the total number of homes that will be constructed on each of the sites, as mentioned earlier, has yet to be fully nailed down. This will become clear as the planning and development phases continue in the new year. One can look at the size of each of the properties to make an educated guess as to what each one might contain. The West Ealing site, for example, is home to one of the area’s larger supermarkets. That retail location has a footprint of 32,000 square feet alone. The Bromley site has a similar supermarket that is 25,000 square feet.
When you consider these numbers within the context of the average shop – which is only estimated to be about 21,000 square feet in size – it’s easy to see how much potential each site truly has.
Since its inception, Abrdn is an organization dedicated to helping its clients plan, save and invest for their futures. In addition to helping with these types of partnerships regularly, Abrdn also offers services to individuals looking for things like retirement advice and financial planning. They also offer direct investing, sustainable investing, and more. Abrdn also acts as an intermediary for wealth managers and financial advisors managing savings or other investments on behalf of another party. They are dedicated to helping people unlock the brightest economic future possible; this is just another in a long line of examples of how they do it.