John Lewis and abrdn announce £500m BTR JV

John Lewis Partnership and abrdn announce a £500m multi-decade joint venture to develop Build to Rent homes.

Living area of what the Build to Rent apartment could look like as part of John Lewis Partnership and abrdn's joint venture | BTR News
Living area of what the Build to Rent apartment could look like as part of John Lewis Partnership and abrdn's joint venture.

John Lewis Partnership’s agrees a £500m multi-decade joint venture with global investment company abrdn to deliver around 1,000 new Build to Rent homes across three local communities – in Bromley and West Ealing in Greater London and Reading.

The deal marks a milestone in the Partnership’s plans to use its significant property assets to build residential homes whilst diversify its business. This joint venture will help the Partnership to reach 10% of its ambition to build 10,000 new homes over the next decade. Out of the 10,000 new homes, 5,000 would be from the company’s own estate, and homes will range from one to three bedroom apartments.

“Our partnership with abrdn is a major milestone in our ambition to create much-needed quality residential housing in our communities. Our residents can expect homes furnished by John Lewis with first-rate service and facilities. The move underlines our commitment to build on the strength of our brands to diversify beyond retail into areas where trust really matters.”

Nina Bhatia, Executive Director for Strategy and Commercial Development, John Lewis Partnership

Within the UK’s growing Build to Rent property market, this is a long-term joint venture that brings together abrdn’s experience as one of Europe’s largest residential investment managers together with the trust, service and quality synonymous with the John Lewis and Waitrose brands.  

“The critical lack of quality rental accommodation in the UK needs to be addressed, so we are delighted to partner with the John Lewis Partnership to provide the required institutional investment. The ambitions and responsible ethos of our brands both strongly align, and our partnership should offer investors long-term returns and give residents confidence in a top-quality living experience.”

Neil Slater, Head of Real Assets, abrdn

The deal will see the Partnership develop and manage the proposed new sites. It also includes commitments to affordable housing and sustainability tied to its existing 2035 net-zero pledge. John Lewis Partnership’s aim to create homes that will provide a stable income for the Partnership – and moving into housing aligns with the company’s purpose to make a positive difference for its partners, customers and communities. 

Subject to planning permission, Waitrose shops in Bromley and West Ealing in Greater London will be redeveloped to provide new homes and improved stores. A vacant John Lewis warehouse in Reading will also be redeveloped. These sites were chosen because of their central location and proximity to transport links. 

John Lewis Partnership’s is working with local authorities and communities to evolve its plans. The company expects to announce more details for West Ealing and Bromley in due course, before aiming to submit its first planning applications in 2023. A first public consultation for the site in Reading is also expected in 2023.