HealthInvestor 17 October 2022

Seniors housing deal of the year

Birchgrove, the specialist property developer, plans, builds and operates  assisted living developments exclusively for the rental market. Whilst other companies offer rental apartments, Birchgrove is the only operator to position its business exclusively with renters in mind.  

In December 2021, Birchgrove entered into a partnership with M&G Real Estate – part of M&G plc’s £76 billion private assets and alternatives business – to fund £200 million of purpose-built senior  living homes. In the first deal as part of the partnership, M&G acquired two of Birchgrove’s existing developments for £69 million: Queensgate Apartments, Sidcup and Woodbank Apartments,  Woking. Birchgrove will continue to manage the two schemes and any other properties M&G acquires. 

The two developments comprise 125 one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments specifically designed for older people. Each development benefits from communal facilities including a restaurant, club room, fitness suite and library, as well as landscape gardens and regular events and activities programme. 

M&G’s entry into the seniors housing market was a landmark deal for the UK seniors housing market in 2021/2022, showing the strength and opportunity of the sector. This form of rental housing will form a significant part of the UK market in the coming years, as demand from residents and investors continues to grow. 

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Birchgrove was the brainchild of Bridges Fund Management – a specialist sustainable and impact investor with a long track record of successful property development in the care sector. Bridges launched Birchgrove in 2017, when there was no retirement rental market  believing that renting retirement homes would enable many more people to access assisted living facilities and allow the inclusion of many who are excluded from the ‘for sale’ model. This partnership with M&G gives validation to that hunch. 

Honor Barratt, chief executive of Birchgrove, said: “It makes me so happy to have won the award for our partnership with M&G. This partnership allows us to move forward on an even stronger, more sustainable footing. The recognition from the judges acknowledges that our rental model enables many more  people to access the benefits of assisted living and that these two communities have blazed a trail that others are now following.”