St James Securities, developers of the £200m Becketwell regeneration scheme in Derby, have announced that Grainger plc, the UK’s largest listed provider of private rental homes, has agreed to forward fund, acquire, and operate the build to rent (BTR) element of the scheme at a cost of £37.375m.

The first purpose-built, BTR scheme in Derby, the development will comprise of 259 one and two-bedroom apartments offering resident amenities, plus two commercial units.

The apartments, which will be built on the site of the former Debenhams store on Victoria Street, will form part of the first phase of the Becketwell scheme and will be adjacent to the new public square, which is the centrepiece of the development and will also be delivered as part of phase one.

The BTR scheme will be a high-quality offer and will feature a rooftop terrace and ground floor amenity space. There will also be a manned reception, gym and separate co-working space, which will serve as an alternative to working from home. Secure car parking, bike store and electric car chargers will also be provided.

Grainger is a market leader in the UK build to rent and private rented sector. This is their first investment in Derby and forms part of their national build-to-rent and PRS investment strategy.

Construction work on the apartments is set to commence shortly, with completion by Spring 2023.

Work is already well underway to bring forward a second phase to comprise a new 3,500 capacity performance and conference venue on the site of Laurie House offices and the former Pink Coconut nightclub.

Future planned phases of the scheme include a range of other complementary uses of the site including up to 25,000 sq. m of new grade A offices and commercial space, a hotel, and a multi-storey car park, with a smaller more intimate courtyard public square.

The regeneration of the long-neglected Becketwell area of Derby is expected to bring numerous benefits to the city, including a repopulation of both office workers and residents to the city centre which will help boost activity outside of traditional retail hours.

It is also hoped that the substantial levels of investment proposed at Becketwell will provide confidence for further new investment in surrounding areas of the city centre.

More than 2,000 jobs are expected to be created by the development.

Commenting on the funding agreement with Grainger plc, Oliver Quarmby, managing director of St James Securities said:

“We are delighted to be working with Grainger on this major BTR scheme which will deliver much needed residential accommodation in Derby city centre. Grainger are a well-established operator in the sector, with an amazing track record of delivery and a tremendous reputation with tenants.

“To have a FTSE 250 investor on-board with the Becketwell scheme is a massive vote of confidence in Derby and will act as a catalyst to drive subsequent phases of development on the wider Becketwell site.”

Helen Gordon, chief executive of Grainger, said:

“This acquisition in Derby is an exciting addition to our growing portfolio of high-quality rental homes in the Midlands, and our first scheme in Derby, a city which meets our strict investment criteria.

“Demand for high-quality rental homes in the city continues to grow, and this scheme will add greater scale to our Midlands cluster, improving our ability to drive efficiencies while delivering a great service to our customers.”

Cllr Matthew Holmes, deputy leader of Derby City Council, said:

“It’s fantastic to see this important component of the Derby Recovery Plan moving ahead at such a crucial time. This huge investment by Grainger shows the confidence in Derby as a City to build back better.

“The ambitious development at Becketwell will diversify the economy and is a prime example of how we are creating a modern, SMART city, with jobs for the future.

“We are proud of the vital role Derby City Council played in assembling the land and securing the D2N2 LEP investment enabling this collaboration with the private sector.”

Sajeeda Rose, CEO of D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership, said:

“We are pleased to see the progress being made on the site and will continue to support Derby City Council on the scheme to deliver the comprehensive regeneration of the Becketwell area of Derby City, contributing to our region’s economic recovery and growth.”

Grainger, founded in 1912, is the UK’s largest listed residential landlord and focuses on providing quality homes at rents reflective of local incomes to ensure they are accessible to the widest pool of customers possible.  The company identifies locations across the country with the highest demand for renting and aims to provide these areas with good quality, professionally managed rental homes.

The team at Grainger handle the design, build, development, ownership, and operation of high-quality rental homes, and are currently managing more than 9,100 homes across the UK.