City Developments Ltd (CDL) continues to ramp up its presence in the UK’s build-to-rent sector with the Singaporean property giant announcing this week that it has acquired a £88 million ($111 million) rental residential project in West London’s White City area.
Singapore’s largest non-state-backed developer is acquiring Yardhouse, a 209-unit co-living project on Wood Lane through forward-purchase agreement with London’s Bridges Fund Management, which will build the 17-storey tower in cooperation with its development partner, HUB, according to a statement by Bridges.
CDL, which has previously invested in student housing, hotels, condo projects and commercial properties in the UK, hailed the deal as its first acquisition in central London’s private rented sector (PRS).
“Despite macroeconomic and geopolitical challenges, the UK PRS has proven to be an exceptionally resilient asset class with robust operational performance,” said Sherman Kwek, group chief executive officer of CDL. “This acquisition… dovetails with our strategic focus to scale up our global living sector portfolio to enhance our recurring income and augment our fund management aspirations.”
CDL said it plans to complete the project, which will span 102,600 square feet of gross floor area by 2026 with the project to rise on a 23,681 square foot site currently occupied by a Women’s Pioneer Housing scheme.
Hub and Bridges had won a 2019 tender to redevelop the site in cooperation with the social enterprise.
“This landmark deal reflects the strong demand in London for lower-cost, high-quality co-living space,” said Bridges’ head of property Simon Ringer. “We have worked extensively with the local community to make sure that Yardhouse caters to local needs – in line with our ongoing commitment to support best-in-class developments in needs-driven sectors.”
CDL said its £88 million total commitment for the project covers the site’s purchase price, construction costs to be released in staggered payments, and costs for developing an adjacent seven-storey housing and commercial block for Women’s Pioneer Housing.
That neighbouring development will house 60 affordable homes and ground-floor office space for the non-profit organization for single women.
With its location opposite Imperial College and within a 10-minute walk of the Westfield London shopping centre, Kwek expects the project to ride on growing demand for flexible and professionally managed co-living accommodation.
As it enters its fifth UK submarket, CDL ties the prospects for Yardhouse to an ongoing £8 billion programme to transform the White City into a hotspot for creative industries and bio-medical research innovation.
Authorities have mapped out plans to build 5,700 new homes within the 110-hectare White City Opportunity Area and create 10,000 new jobs by 2028.
The addition of Yardhouse raises CDL’s portfolio of private rental residential properties in the UK by 13 percent to 1,857 operational and pipeline units. The company has a total rental residential portfolio, including development projects, of 4,771 units globally spanning Japan, Australia and the US, in addition to the UK.
This latest acquisition comes less than three months after CDL snapped up the 261-unit 1NQ rental residential project in Manchester for £75.6 million, also through a forward-purchase agreement.
Singapore Still Loves London
Beyond rental homes, CDL has also been actively expanding its presence in the UK’s luxury residential and commercial sectors.
In November, a CDL joint venture with the UK’s Galliard Homes completed their purchase of the Morden Wharf mixed-use development in southeast London’s Royal Borough of Greenwich, where they aim to build 1,500 homes, together with commercial and retail space, across 12 buildings.
In March 2023, CDL bought the St Katharine Docks complex in central London from Blackstone for £395 million ($468 million).