Present Made to deliver UK’s first BTR as part of Eddington master-plan

Hundreds of eco-friendly smart homes designed for rent to be delivered as part of the University of Cambridge’s development at Eddington.

Amenity Building Design. Image credit Jo Cowen Architects - Present Made | BTR News
Amenity building design. Image credit: Jo Cowen Architects.

Present Made, the UK’s first purpose-built and designed single-family rental housing platform, has been appointed by the University of Cambridge to develop sustainable smart homes as part of its ambitious 150-hectare Eddington master-plan. The University of Cambridge was advised by Bidwells.

Eddington is the first site within Present Made’s initial £1.6bn development pipeline, which will see over 3,000 precision engineered smart rental homes delivered across the south of England.

Under plans submitted to Cambridge City Council, Present Made will develop and operate close to 370 rental homes – including the UK’s first family houses to be designed and built exclusively for rent – as part of a new neighbourhood that will promote healthy and sustainable living. 

Present Made development. Image credit Jo Cowen Architects - Present Made | BTR News
Present Made development. Image credit Jo Cowen Architects.

“It is a privilege to be working alongside the University of Cambridge in delivering the UK’s first family homes to be specifically designed and built for rent.

“This would not have been possible had it not been for the strategic concept, design and development by Jo Cowen Architects, which was central to the University of Cambridge’s decision to select Present Made.

“Present Made homes will sit in master-planned, landscape-led communities that have been designed around people not cars, to promote active, healthy and sustainable lifestyles.

“Harnessing the power of institutional capital, Present Made will own, develop and operate beautiful, sustainable homes for the long term. Our aim is to create a new way of living, providing aspirational yet attainable housing set within living streets and active communities that are integrated with their surroundings. Our vision is to encourage healthy and sustainable lifestyles, making them second nature to our residents.

“Present Made will help the University and City attract and retain talent as part of a multi-tenure diversified intergenerational community to complement the exceptional placemaking and quality of mixed-use development already delivered by the University.”

Richard Jackson, Co-founder of Apache Capital and CEO at Present Made

Residents will also benefit from Present Made’s corporate focus on sustainability – which is targeting a net zero carbon operational model as part of a wider ESG-driven strategy. The Build to Rent homes at Eddington will be highly energy efficient thanks to a combination of smart technology and modern methods of construction, with houses precision engineered in a factory environment in a process that is less wasteful, disruptive and time consuming compared to traditional construction techniques.

“Eddington sets the standard in sustainable living. Unprecedented in its ambition and scale, Eddington is part of the University’s plans to safeguard its future as a world-leading university by providing key workers, students and the wider community with a vibrant place to live.

“Present Made will take a unique role at Eddington with the delivery of highly sustainable family homes and their on-going community development work which complements the overall masterplan vision.”

Brian Nearney, Commercial Director, University of Cambridge

The £160m scheme, and the broader Present Made concept, has been curated by award-winning Jo Cowen Architects, and is centred around the four pillars of:

  1. Activated Public Realm – from Liveable Streets to a Raised Garden Court, residents will benefit from a range of outdoor spaces that facilitate connectedness to nature and each other, wellbeing, walking, cycling, and exercise as part of a design that prioritises people above cars.
  2. Community Creation – a range of internal and external amenity spaces combined with a year-long calendar of communal events will encourage residents to meet and get to know their neighbours.
  3. Professional Management – Present Made will retain ownership and control of the completed development, with residents benefiting from an on-site management team that is readily available, handling any maintenance issues speedily as well as organising regular socials.
  4. Talent Retention – by offering a new type of high quality rental housing that has never been seen before in the UK, Present Made at Eddington will help Cambridge capture and retain talent by providing an attractive alternative to homeownership that is both flexible and secure in tenure.
Present Made design. Image credit Jo Cowen Architects - Present Made | BTR News
Present Made design. Image credit Jo Cowen Architects.

“Present Made at Eddington will be characterised by a high-quality of architecture and a highly-liveable public realm, with the idea of time well-spent being central to the concept.

“We have designed a sustainable neighbourhood focused around people, not cars, which aims to connect an intergenerational community with one another and improve the quality of everyday lives through high quality homes and streets.

“The scheme will deploy modern methods of construction through bespoke design, integrating new technologies with a holistic vision to deliver a development and amenity spaces that promote sustainable living, wellness, human connection, personal growthand common unity.”

Jo Cowen, CEO, Jo Cowen Architects

In addition to Eddington, Present Made has a further three sites in the Oxford-Cambridge Arc – with further announcements expected later this year. The region is one of the UK’s most innovative and productive – but also has some of the highest housing costs.