Star Living, the Build to Rent arm of property developer and operator Strawberry Star, completes a deal to buy a brownfield site in the heart of Maidstone town centre in Kent, to develop a new Build to Rent scheme. The site at Mote Road had been earmarked by Maidstone Council as one of five priority regeneration areas across the town.
The site – a redundant car park – will be transformed to deliver 172 Build to Rent apartments, over 1,100 sqm of commercial space and improved public realm. Planners have given the green light for the development of two 12-storey apartment blocks, which will include 78 studio/one-bedroom, 84 two-bedroom and ten three-bedroom homes. Apartments are situated to make the most of natural light, with many of them offering dual aspect living, with far-reaching views over Maidstone.
“We are delighted to have concluded negotiations on the Mote Road site which will be a strong part of our ongoing growth strategy and a key site in our Star Living portfolio. Maidstone is a thriving area with a significant employment base and a young and growing population who are looking for high-quality homes to rent, so we expect demand to be high for these homes, which will feature private balconies and roof-top terraces.”Santhosh Gowda, Chairman and Founder, Strawberry Star
The Mote Road site meets Star Living’s core requirements for its Build to Rent projects, as its ideally situated for the vibrant town centre and is walking distance to two train stations. Star Living’s requirements include sites located in well-connected commuter towns with a vibrant high street, within easy access to London, and includes plenty of green spaces, countryside and cultural attractions nearby.
Prior to being a car park, the Mote Road site was home to a paper factory. The designs for the new Build to Rent buildings – designed by Formation Architects – incorporates this and traditional Kentish architecture to provide inspiration for the contemporary buildings. For example, the historic Kent building material ragstone will be used in various ways at street level and in the landscaping, to set the new buildings in a historical context.
The planned buildings, mainly built in brick, with the blocks stepped to reduce the mass, were praised by Maidstone Council’s planning officers, who said it “will have a significantly positive impact upon the townscape”.
Mote Road will offer greener and more sustainable living, with an on-site car club, space heating supplied by a communal air source heat pump, and green roofs to encourage biodiversity.
“Our ongoing strategy to build boutique projects that can be completed swiftly will ensure that the people of Maidstone benefit from the new development as soon as possible. Our driving principle is to put the right homes in the right place, meeting customer requirements for places to live that are more spacious as well as more affordable, yet still within an easy commute to London.”Santhosh Gowda, Chairman and Founder, Strawberry Star
This new development forms part of Strawberry Star’s expansion plans which will see around c.2,000 homes in the pipeline by the end of the year. The company’s key USP is the range of different property services that it provides, including capital, development, estate management, lettings, property management and sales.