Barings Real Estate has entered the UK private rented sector (PRS) with the acquisition of a 240-unit multifamily property, The Keel, at Queens Dock in Liverpool, for €52.6m (£46.75m) from Moorfield Group. The acquisition also includes an adjacent plot of land which is fully consented for PRS development. The investment has been made as part of Barings’ pan European core investment strategy on behalf of institutional investors.
The Keel, a Liverpool landmark, is comprised of 240 apartments (425 beds) across 170,500ft² arranged over ground and four floors. Formerly Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs’ (HMRC) Liverpool office, The Keel was recently converted to high-quality mid-market residential apartments. The property is attractively positioned on the edge of River Mersey, with residents benefitting from water views, as well as a range of amenities including a manned concierge/reception, on-site gym, 207 car parking and secure perimeter fencing.
Glenbrook will continue their association with The Keel following their original role as scheme developer. Glenbrook introduced the scheme to Barings and will partner with them on the asset management of The Keel and the development of the remaining consented land that when delivered will see the size of the scheme increase to more than 500 apartments.
Darren Hutchinson, Managing Director – Head of UK Real Estate Transactions at Barings, said: “This transaction presents a rare opportunity to acquire a well located operating PRS asset in an iconic building on Liverpool’s riverside. We believe there is an opportunity to add value through leasing up the vacant apartments and capturing rental reversion as a number of short term leases in The Keel expire. Barings believes the UK PRS sector, and the regional mid-market sector, in particular, is at the beginning of a period of sustained growth. We have extensive experience managing and investing in multifamily properties in the US and our acquisition of the Keel is a great start to our strong ambitions to expand that expertise to the UK.”
Commenting on the disposal on behalf of the fund, Charles Ferguson-Davie, Chief Investment Officer, Moorfield, said: “The Keel was one of the first PRS/BTR projects delivered in the UK and we are proud to have been at the forefront of this new and emerging sector. We will now be looking to identify new opportunities on behalf of our new fund, which achieved the first close in October 2017. This is targeting further investments in PRS/BTR, student accommodation, logistics, mixed-use projects and infrastructure-led opportunities. Moorfield has also invested three other BTR projects - two in Manchester known as The Trilogy and Duet and one in Newcastle known as The Forge.”