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Barings enters UK PRS market with an acquisition of the Keel, Queens Dock in Liverpool, for £46.75 Million

Oct 01, 2018

LONDON, 1 October 2018 – Barings Real Estate, part of Barings LLC, one of the world’s largest diversified real estate investment managers, announces that it has entered the UK private rented sector (“PRS”) with the acquisition of a 240 unit multifamily property, The Keel, at Queens Dock in Liverpool, for £46.75 million, from  Moorfield Group (”Moorfield”), on behalf of one of their funds. The acquisition also includes an adjacent plot of land which is fully consented for PRS development.  The investment has been made as part of Barings’ pan European core investment strategy on behalf of institutional investors. 

The Keel, a Liverpool landmark, is comprised of 240 apartments (425 beds) across 170,500 sq ft arranged over ground and four floors. Formerly Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs’ (HMRC) Liverpool office, The Keel was recently converted to a high quality mid-market residential apartments.  The Keel is attractively positioned on the edge of River Mersey, with residents benefitting from water views, as well as a range of amenities including a manned concierge/reception, on-site gym, 207 car parking and secure perimeter fencing. 

The PRS market is rapidly emerging as an institutional asset class in the U.K. and is underpinned by key demographic and structural drivers including a chronic undersupply of housing, which is further exacerbated by declining average household sizes, as well as a significant increase in the number of people renting. 

Darren Hutchinson, Managing Director – Head of U.K. Real Estate Transactions at Barings, said, “This transaction presents a rare opportunity to acquire a well located operating PRS asset in an iconic building on Liverpool’s riverside. We believe there is an opportunity to add value through leasing up the vacant apartments and capturing rental reversion as a number of short term leases in The Keel expire. Barings believes the UK PRS sector, and the regional mid-market sector in particular, is at the beginning of a period of sustained growth. We have extensive experience managing and investing in multifamily properties in the U.S. and our acquisition of the Keel is a great start to our strong ambitions to expand that expertise to the U.K.”  

Commenting on the disposal on behalf of the fund, Charles Ferguson-Davie, Chief Investment Officer, Moorfield, said: “The Keel was one of the first PRS/BTR projects delivered in the UK and we are proud to have been at the forefront of this new and emerging sector. We will now be looking to identify new opportunities on behalf of our new fund, which achieved a first close in October 2017. This is targeting further investments in PRS/BTR, student accommodation, logistics, mixed-use projects and infrastructure-led opportunities. Moorfield has also invested three other BTR projects - two in Manchester known as The Trilogy and Duet and one in Newcastle known as The Forge.”

Property Company Glenbrook will continue their association with The Keel following their original role as scheme developer. Glenbrook introduced the scheme to Barings and will partner with them on the asset management of The Keel and the development of the remaining consented land that when delivered will see the size of the scheme increase to more than 500 apartments.

Barings Alternative Investments (BAI), part of Barings LLC, is a 460+ associate team located across 11 countries that manages $49+ billion* in client capital. BAI seeks differentiated sources of returns by incorporating decades of investment experience in alternative assets offering investors access to a diverse range of opportunities across private equity, real assets, asset-based investments and the four quadrants of real estate. We serve as a trusted partner to clients, leveraging our global presence and robust origination capabilities to identify the most attractive risk-adjusted return opportunities. As a leading global real estate investor and asset manager, the Barings Real Estate team offers a broad range of investment opportunities across the public and private debt and equity markets, investing across property sectors with a focus on global relative value and trend-backed preferred strategies.

About Barings
Barings is a $306+ billion* global financial services firm dedicated to meeting the evolving investment and capital needs of our clients. We build lasting partnerships that leverage our distinctive expertise across traditional and alternative asset classes to deliver innovative solutions and exceptional service. Part of MassMutual, Barings maintains a strong global presence with over 1,800 associates and offices in 16 countries. 
*As of June 30, 2018.

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