L&G and Clanmil forward fund Loft Lines BTR

Watkin Jones’ Loft Lines Build to Rent development receives c.£155m forward funding from L&G and Clanmil Housing Association.

Watkin Jones Loft Lines Build to Rent development at the Titanic Quarter, Belfast, which has been forward funded by L&G and Clanmil Housing Association | BTR News
Watkin Jones Loft Lines Build to Rent development at the Titanic Quarter, Belfast, which has been forward funded by L&G and Clanmil Housing Association.

In a partnership between Watkin Jones and Lacuna Developments, the pair announce the exchange of contracts with L&G and Clanmil Housing Association, to forward fund the Loft Lines Build to Rent scheme in Belfast. The agreed forward funding amounts to c.£155m of the wider c.£175m development.

“We are proud to be making the largest ever private sector investment into housing in Northern Ireland. A long-term investment that will allow for the continued regeneration of the Titanic Quarter and crucially support the growing housing demands of the city.”

Mike Powell, Head of BTR Transactions, LGIM Real Assets

In Q4 2021, TODD architects submitted a planning application for the new urban residential community in the centre of the Titanic Quarter. Loft Lines is the first Build to Rent development in Northern Ireland – as well as the first mixed tenure affordable housing scheme. Watkin Jones and Lacuna Developments are delivering the scheme in a partnership with Titanic Quarter Limited and Belfast Harbour.

“This is another significant step forward for city centre living in Belfast. For Lacuna to be involved in the first purpose-built student accommodation scheme in 2015 and now the first mixed tenure housing scheme in the city centre is very pleasing and shows our company’s commitment to Belfast, our home city. Loft Lines will deliver Build to Rent, affordable and social housing as well as large amounts of public realm and major green travel measures.

“The ambitions for Belfast city centre are huge but to be involved in Loft Lines, which will support the growth planned under the Belfast Agenda, is fantastic. The partnership approach by all stakeholders, Belfast City Council and L&G has been great to be part of and required a huge amount of work by all to reach this stage. We look forward to starting the project with Grahams very shortly in what will be a three-year project and will be a game changing regeneration scheme for Titanic Quarter and the wider city.”

Anthony Best, Managing Director, Lacuna Developments

Located on Queen’s Island, Loft Lines will transform the current brownfield site, delivering 778 new waterfront homes – 627 Build to Rent and 151 affordable units – across a mix of studios, one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments. The homes have been designed to appeal to a variety of people including families and young professionals.

Amenities at Loft Lines will offer residents access to lounges, flexible working space, private dining spaces, sports and recreational spaces, gyms, games rooms, cinema rooms and children’s play areas.

“We are pleased to see the continued positive progress of the ‘Loft Lines’ development working in partnership with Watkin Jones and Legal and General, supporting our ambition to develop an iconic waterfront for the city. The addition of Build to Rent and social/affordable residential with supporting commercial use and leisure activities will create an urban community on the water with the highest quality outdoor space and indoor accommodation.”

Joe O’Neill, Chief Executive, Belfast Harbour

Within walking distance to the city centre, residents at the Loft Lines scheme are close to the range of amenities and leisure facilities Belfast has to offer. They also benefit from good railway links to Dublin and Belfast City airport, which is under three miles away.

Loft Lines is surrounded by an urban woodland with parks and walkways. The development is supporting Watkin Jones’ Group’s strong ESG credentials, incorporating air source heat pumps and other energy saving capabilities. The scheme’s design has a ‘resident first’ approach; prioritising pedestrians and cyclists over car use and supporting the city’s aim to reduce its carbon footprint.

“We are delighted to have secured institutional investment from both L&G and Clanmil Housing Association for this landmark scheme in Belfast’s iconic Titanic Quarter. This is further evidence of the attractive investment and operational fundamentals of both Build to Rent as a sector and Belfast as a city and a good sign of capital markets re-opening.

“Watkin Jones has a strong track record of developing large regeneration sites and we are delighted to bring the first Build to Rent scheme to the city of Belfast. Titanic Quarter will develop an area that is steeped in rich history, transforming this brownfield site into a thriving place to live and acting as a catalyst for wider regeneration.

“We are very pleased to continue investing to support Belfast’s ambitions. The development is being brought to fruition by a true partnership approach between all stakeholders and funders and we are grateful for the genuine collaboration we have experienced with our partners. The scheme offers excellent employment opportunities with growth across many industries in the city. Belfast offers a wide range of shops, bars, and restaurants along with a thriving arts and music scene, making it a truly fantastic place to both work and live.”

Alex Pease, Chief Investment Officer, Watkin Jones

Previously home to world leaders in innovative engineering, the Titanic Quarter was a hub for renowned shipbuilding company, Harland and Wolff. The Loft Lines Build to Rent scheme will help to further catalyse the regeneration of Queens Island, supporting the transformation of Belfast city centre living, bringing attractive homes to the area for the first time and a significant boost to the local economy.

“It is very exciting to see The Loft Lines progress to construction phase, delivering Belfast’s first major Build to Rent, social and affordable residential project in Titanic Quarter. We are delighted to be working in partnership with Lacuna, Watkin Jones, Legal and General and Clanmil, playing our part in bringing the project to fruition. The Loft Lines is a super component of the continuing mixed-use regeneration of Titanic Quarter and supports Belfast’s growth ambitions set out in the Belfast Agenda.”

James Eyre, Commercial Director, Titanic Quarter Ltd