Forward funding agreed for Lower Bristol Road BTR

Watkin Jones and DWS agree a c.£100m forward funding deal to deliver a Build to Rent scheme on Lower Bristol Road in Bath.

Bath Junction Build to Rent development on Lower Bristol Road. Watkin Jones and DWS agree a c.£100m forward funding deal to deliver the scheme | BTR News
Bath Junction Build to Rent development on Lower Bristol Road. Watkin Jones and DWS agree a c.£100m forward funding deal to deliver the scheme.

Watkin Jones and global real estate investment manager DWS agree a c.£100m forward funding deal to deliver a new Build to Rent scheme on Lower Bristol Road in Bath. Plans were released for the scheme in 2020 with an online public consultation, and Watkin Jones received planning permission for the development in Q3 2021. Completion is expected in 2025.

The scheme will deliver  316 units – a mix of studios, one, two and three-bedroom sustainably designed homes across two Build to Rent buildings, 95 of which will be classed as affordable and offer significantly reduced rents. The scheme will include over 650 secure bike parking spaces for both residents and visitors, a car club and electric charging points for the parking spaces available.

The Lower Bristol Road scheme will be future proofed by meeting high environmental sustainability standards – with the scheme targeting Home Quality Mark Level Three. Meeting the increased desire for outdoor space, residents will be able to enjoy landscaped communal courtyard gardens on the first floor and further biodiversity will be added throughout the scheme, including new trees planted on the frontage to add to the attractiveness of the wider area.

“This agreement builds on our already successful relationship with DWS and will bring long term value to Bath by creating fantastic homes for people to live in. Constrained supply of new homes to rent is a growing challenge for renters, and more investment in creating new rental housing where people can enjoy living and working in Bath is urgently needed to meet demand.”

“Our team did a superb job to achieve planning for a highly sustainable scheme in a UNESCO World Heritage city as well as attracting new investment to Bath. We have a growing pipeline and having a track record of successfully creating residential schemes in the city are continuing to look for land opportunities.”

Alex Pease, Chief Investment Officer, Watkin Jones

The Build to Rent scheme will be delivered on the Lower Bristol Road brownfield site within the Bath Riverside regeneration area. It will replace a former car showroom – the Dick Lovett BMW and MINI dealerships – on Lower Bristol Road. Residents will benefit from excellent sustainable transport options – including the nearby National Route Four cycling route, local buses, and Oldfield Park and Bath Spa rail stations which provide connectivity to Bristol and other cities. The scheme is also within a 15-minute walk to the centre of Bath.

Watkin Jones has an excellent track record of delivery in Bath, completing three schemes in the last five years that have added over 250 new places for people to live. This is also Watkin Jones and DWS’ second transaction. With this acquisition, DWS approaches almost £2bn of AUM in the UK and Ireland living sector.

“We look forward to continuing our great partnership with Watkin Jones. Upon completion, Bath Junction will complement the population demographic of the area delivering an attractive, affordable Build to Rent housing scheme to this historic city. As a dominant living sector investor, DWS’ presence across UK and Ireland expands to almost 7,500 beds with this latest transaction.

“This marks the first acquisition for a new Pan-European c. €1bn mandate. We will continue to target high quality living sector schemes in key regional cities across Europe as we build out the portfolio.”

Hugo Vere, Lead Portfolio Manager for the real estate business at DWS, based out of London