“Critics round on No 10 over ‘ridiculous’ rules for 14-day quarantine”
I have yet to see any mention of the effect a quarantine regime will have on businesses outside the “travel and tourism” sectors.
While it is obvious that those sectors will suffer, there are many other businesses, such as Zetland, our student accommodation in Huddersfield, which will suffer from additional barriers on a market already under severe pressure.
The central problem is the lack of clarity around the effectiveness of the quarantine strategy. It has already become apparent that people under quarantine restrictions will be allowed to use public transport to get to their ultimate destination, and then be allowed to go out to shop and fulfil legal obligations. So how effective will it be?
My personal view is influenced by our position of course. I try to be as impartial as possible but I can’t get past the argument that if the general public are obeying goslings and exercising good social distancing, and in particular if those inbound passengers were compelled to use the ‘test and trace’ app, then they actually represent very little additional risk.
“We can’t yet say what’s on offer in September, UK universities tell freshers”
If you UK universities still can’t say what they’re going to do for 2020/21, it’s unreasonable to expect our potential tenants to make solid commitments.
For the moment, while we continue to receive enquiries, we are finding students cannot be certain about the dates they’ll need accommodation, and are reluctant to commit.
Fair enough. These are very difficult times for most, of course, but particularly sectors at all connected with education, and in particular, tertiary education. We feel the best thing we can do is be accommodating and patient.
In a potentially landmark decision, the Stirling Prize for the UK’s best new building was awarded to the Goldsmith Street social housing development in Norwich.
Not only is it the first time the award has been given to social housing, it marks a significant change in focus for the jury. Last year’s award went to the £1.3bn Bloomberg headquarters for being the most sustainable office building ever conceived – despite importing 600 tonnes of Bronze from Japan and granite from India.
The hope has to be that this award will help shape the direction of housing provision to come. The design is led strongly by social efficacy as well as environmental efficiency. Houses have doorways facing each other, encouraging social interaction, there are communal as well as private play areas and social spaces, and at the front, the design of the street has cars very much secondary to prioritising the movement and interaction of people.
When I’ve seen the new residents interviewed on the news, the response has been overwhelmingly very positive – many people just couldn’t see themselves ever moving out. Now that is an enviable level of satisfaction. Let’s have lots more.
Now – in a personal postscript to this – I have long been espousing the value of great social design in co-living spaces but actually, we have a potential project which we’re looking to bring to fruition next year, in which we had already identified the great value in creating a ‘street’ feeling for a group of holiday cottages and serviced accommodation apartments. Although the ‘street’ will always remain a right of way, the majority of the time vehicles will not be allowed anywhere. We want to encourage the feeling of ‘ownership’ of that area, by the people who are staying there, enabling parents to comfortably allow their children to play with each other outside.
This project is incredibly ambitious and we hope to be able to let you begin to see into it very soon. Fingers crossed!
During our journey through life we experience many boxes; the box we live in, the box we learn in, the box we travel in. And then there’s the box we think in.
Society generally dictates we accept the way things are – it has always been that way, therefore it willalways be that way. But inside, we know in our gut, there is a better way.
This article is extraordinary. It brings together so many aspects of what I believe about Property and the way we use it as different societies. It must be true that there is no set way for everyone to live but there are many different ways.
The trick for an investor in property is to spot the opportunities from lifestyle changes. The closer you watch society, watch the changing, developing needs and developing importance of those needs, then there is your developing niche.
And niche can often become mainstream. That is the goal. Make the product so goodfor society, so apt to the times it becomes so desirable that everyone in your target market aspires to it. Then expand the options to expand the market reach.
Except for it getting me thinking, none of the above says anything much about the article to which I linked! I suppose is right and proper … I’ll just let the professional journalist express some of my shared vision for the co-living environments of the near future.
An all-party parliamentary group on housing and care for older people has released a report warning of an impending crisis in renting for older generations.
According to chair, Richard Best, “The number of households headed by someone over 64 will treble over the next 25-30 years … unless at least 21,000 suitable homes are built a year there will be nowhere affordable for them to live.”
Since we all know that the general population is living longer it seems obvious that specific strategies need to be enacted to deal with the changing demographic. Whether this is led by Government intervention, or is simply entrusted to the Private Rented Sector is the current question at hand.
At SLK we are acutely aware of the changing needs and have been looking at opportunities within rental housing for the older demographic. In this sector, as big fans of co-living, there appears to be an increasingly viable (and valuable) niche opportunity in creating high quality ‘shared housing’ products aimed specifically at older rather than younger generations.
There are so many benefits to co-living it feels like a ‘no-brainer’ to formulate rental products for that ‘post family home’ age, which deliver comfortable, sociable, caring living environments. It is an area we are passionate to explore with like minded partners.
We are currently treading softly on a totally off market potential deal to convert a pub in one of Harrogate’s outlying villages. This is a significant single plot development project which, if the right investor can be found, we could more pro-actively push forward. We might also be able to work with the vendor for the right development scheme, converting it into either a c.£1m house with a work / leisure annex or up to 2x SA / holiday cottages.
Although we would intend to secure and undertake the development ourselves on this project, we might well be prepared to package and sell it on as a deal to a suitable development partner.
As we all know, deals ‘fall out of bed’ all the time. The co-working project is just another one, having fallen through today.
Although, this one is a bit unusual as the reason it will not be going ahead is that the prospective landlord / vendor signed up another party to their site without any indication.
We had conducted a little over 2 months of due diligence, specifying our product, the scope of works required, JV partner relations, etc. including 3 site visits and then conducting competitor and market research.
So are there any lessons to learn from this? From a due diligence point of view, no. We had to do what we had to do. Perhaps we could have been a little quicker but then we needed to make absolutely sure of our project parameters given it was a new partnership and a new business.
From the point of view of conversations with the landlord / vendor, yes, we could have done differently and better.
We always consider good communication as essential in everything we do and perhaps, on this occasion, we didn’t maintain frequency of contact. Having arranged a meeting to finalise contracts just under 3 weeks into the future, we didn’t want to hassle the other party so assumed, and then found after 2 weeks the bomb was dropped. Perhaps a friendly weekly call may have prevented this from happening. We can’t know but we won’t be making any more assumptions in the future – so the lesson? – keep checking in regularly with the other party.
An opportunity has arisen to establish a new business centre in Harrogate encompassing co-working alongside regular offices.
We are currently exploring a partnership with an established provider to expand their brand into a new location in Harrogate.
Of course, there’s a long way to go – we need to research market demand, current competitor offerings and then negotiate the terms on the site we have identified. These things take time, especially when we are effectively setting up a new business. The business centre will be a stand a lone entity, in a partnership under a SPV Limited Company.
At the moment all our market research indicates this project has great potential. ALthough Harrogate has plenty of normal offices available to rent, there is a dearth of serviced offices and no co-working space readily available.
We have a fantastic opportunity to convert a commercial premises in Harrogate which we wish to use as a ‘flagship’ property supporting the establishment of a wider ‘co-living’ property investment business. We would love to speak with anybody who thinks they may be able to help me achieve ambitious goals and quickly scale the wider business to a national presence. We have a Business Proposal Outline for those who are interested.
The current property we have our eye on needs moving on very quickly -we would like to put an offer in as soon a possible, as it will definitely go! We have detailed spreadsheets illuminating a variety of exit options – which we are happy to provide.
We have development teams in place and with suitable experience, having most recently undertaken a 35 bedroom student development with a JV partner (now sadly deceased – therein lies a helluva story!) which we have held and are managing.
Although we are principally seeking a business partner, the current property in question has multiple exit options including planning underway for conversion to 7 flats which could be sold for GDV c.£935k, or held for use as single lets or SA. If it used for the wider business, any investment could be corralled in a project specific SPV with 1st or 2nd charge (dependent on purchase finance options) or invested in the business to enable the purchase and development of more than just this opportunity. Outside that business, we may be happy to assist in packaging it as a deal, providing you with any required range of services from simple sourcing to full development and project management to completion.
We are quite protective of the wider Business Proposal as we think there is a fantastic opportunity to exploit and actively expand the growing ‘co-living’ market. If you seriously think you would like to be involved in a co-living business that could really go places we would really love to talk with you.
The Business Proposal is written, the full Business Plan is ‘in progress’, the market is maturing and primed for ‘disruption’. SLK are moving into the co-living arena with our new project(s) and we have ambitions. BIG ambitions (but not BHAGs – and if you don’t know what BHAGs are, consider yourself lucky!).
While researching the current market offerings and defining the niche we want to explode I came across this article from Money Observer which offers some encouragement to investors who are looking at co-living and thinking “is this a space worth serious consideration?”.
I hadn’t read this article before preparing our Business Proposal but many aspects of it are exactly the things I’ve said. It’s really good to have some confirmation we’re on the right track with our ideas. After a bit of a public hiatus (we’ve been working furiously out of sight!) we will be much more visible from now on. Watch out – you have been warned!!