Moda Living pushes button on major £258m Great Charles Street neighbourhood

Moda Living (Moda), the leading developer, operator and owner of private, build-to-rent (BTR) homes, and joint venture partner Apache Capital Partners, is to go live with its plans later this month to deliver a 720-home build-to-rent community in Birmingham. Moda has worked closely with Birmingham City Council throughout the process.

Subject to planning, this will be Moda’s second site under development in the city after ‘The Mercian’, which at 42 storeys is Birmingham and the Midlands’ tallest residential tower under construction, with a further 13 stories recently being granted by Birmingham City Council. The construction of the Mercian has been financed by a £118m debt facility from Goldman Sachs, the US investment bank’s first ever UK BTR development loan.

Family-backed Moda, along with JV partner Apache Capital, now has £850m of live schemes under construction across the UK – the first phase of its £2.5bn pipeline of over 7,500 rent-only homes. The JV has the largest privately funded build to rent platform in the UK, attracting £400m in capital, with investment from major UK and US institutional investors such as Harrison Street and NFU Mutual.

Moda and Apache Capital will account for a total investment of £445m and 1,200 homes in Birmingham.  This will support Birmingham’s ‘Big City Plan’ and account for massive 24% of the councils target of 5,000 new homes in the city.

Continuing to raise the bar for rental in the city and across the UK, Moda will cater for a wide- ranging demographic including young professionals, downsizers, sharers and families. Residents will have access to a host of on-site amenities with mental and physical health and wellbeing at its heart. Facilities include gyms and ‘wellness’ zones, green spaces, roof terraces, communal lounges, workspace – all included within the rent. Challenging the current rental market, Moda will offer deposit-free, pet friendly renting with secure yet flexible tenancies to give residents a sense of ownership, alongside a 24-hour on-site professionally managed service.

Moda has been working closely with the site’s freeholder Birmingham City Council to transform the 2.6-acre, brownfield site at Great Charles Street into a thriving neighbourhood with new homes, shops, amenities and vastly improved public realm.

A Public Consultation on Moda’s Great Charles Street plans will start before the end of February (details below). The company’s unique approach takes great care to work closely and engage with key stakeholders including Birmingham City Council, the Jewellery Quarter Development Trust, the Colmore Business District, the Birmingham Civic Society, local councillors, local businesses and members of the public. All views are welcome.

Tony Brooks, Managing Director at Moda, commented: “We are thrilled to progress with our Great Charles Street development, our second site in a city we love. We strongly believe that Birmingham is not only a great city to live, work and invest in, but also to thrive in – and we want to offer a unique way of living to the people of this amazing city for years to come.

“Our build-to-rent projects are changing the way people live and make their home today. We provide more opportunities, amenities, options and facilities than ever before, all built sustainably with an especially strong commitment to their local communities. At Moda we are certain that service must no longer be seen as a premium but instead as the uncompromising core of our offer.

“The consultation we are running will be opportunity to view and comment on proposals to regenerate a significant and highly accessible brownfield site on the edge of the Jewellery Quarter. The site, currently a car park, will hopefully be an exciting new neighbourhood in the prosperity of the city.” The local authority has been fantastic in helping to guide us on our journey.

Leader of the Council Ian Ward, Birmingham City Council, who also sits on the Strategic Economic Delivery Board of the City, commented “We are delighted to see Moda progressing with these impressive plans to transform this long vacant plot in the heart of our city – in our Big City Plan. Bringing quality, new housing stock to the city is of paramount importance to this Council. Our aim is to continue to create a world-class city centre by planning for the next 20 years of transformation and growth – and this project is an important part of that.”

Richard Jackson, co-founder and managing director of Apache Capital Partners, said: “Birmingham has hugely favourable demographics, being Europe’s youngest large city, and the recommitment to HS2 from the government combined with other infrastructure projects being planned will support inward investment.

“We have proven our model of high amenity, highly serviced multifamily housing works with Angel Gardens, where we are above target with lettings, and we aim to bring that standard of quality of build-to-rent development to Birmingham, raising customer expectations by creating homes that are fundamentally a lifestyle product.”

Elsewhere, Moda recently reached £850m of schemes under construction by appointing Robertson as main contractor on its Edinburgh scheme earlier this month.

Moda officially opened its flagship 530,000 sq ft, 35-storey, 466 new home neighbourhood, Angel Gardens, in Manchester in October last year, as well as starting on site at New York Square, Leeds, with a further 515 homes. Further construction is also underway at The Lexington in Liverpool, a 34-storey tower on Liverpool Waters that will deliver another  325 homes. With further projects across the UK in varying stages of design, planning and development, Moda is on target to be opening 125 homes a month by the end of 2021.