John Lewis Partnership branches out from retail in £0.5bn deal to build homes
When pure retail just isn’t enough. John Lewis Partnership is branching out into the UK’s growing ‘built-to-rent’ property market, converting parts of its Waitrose supermarket spaces into residential apartments.
The UK retail giant has agreed a £500 million multi-decade joint venture with global investment company abrdn to deliver around 1,000 new homes, initially in Bromley and West Ealing in Greater London and Reading in Berkshire.
And with John Lewis already converting some of its London Oxford Street flagship store space into offices, its said the latest move “marks a milestone in the Partnership’s plans to use its significant property assets to build much-needed residential homes and diversify our business".
It added: “The joint venture will help us to reach 10% of our ambition to build 10,000 new homes over the next decade”.
The Partnertship’s input will provide the “trust, service and quality synonymous with the John Lewis and Waitrose brands". It will develop and manage the proposed new sites and includes commitments to affordable housing and sustainability tied to its existing 2035 net-zero pledge.
It added: “We want to create homes that will provide a stable income for the Partnership, and moving into housing aligns with our purpose to make a positive difference for our Partners, customers and communities.
In Bromley and West Ealing in Greater London, subject to planning permission, some Waitrose stores will be redeveloped to provide new homes and improved stores. In Reading, a vacant John Lewis warehouse will be redeveloped. Initial planning applications will begin next year while a first public consultation for the site in Reading is expected in 2023.
Nina Bhatia, Execute Director for Strategy and Commercial Development for the Partnership, said: “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."
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