First planning permission secured for new business

American fund giant Oaktree Capital has announced plans to create a £1bn portfolio of co-living homes in London.

The firm, which has $166bn in assets under management globally, is seeking to invest in developing homes in the UK before branching out into Europe.

Battersea Park site Balance Out Living (002)

Balance Out Living’s proposed 213-home co-living scheme in Wandsworth

It is backing a company called Balance Out Living, which will develop and operate co-living housing – a highly amenitised form of purpose-built rental housing aimed at providing convenience and shared living spaces.

The company last night secured its first planning approval, a 213-home scheme close to Battersea Park in Wandsworth, south west London, designed by Claridge architects. The 18-storey Culvert Road scheme features 16,000 sq ft of on-site amenities for residents, including outdoor terraces, a gym, café, bar, lounge, workspaces and kitchens, along with cycle storage and landscaping. The plans will also feature “green walls, edible gardens and landscaped terraces offering panoramic views of London”.

It has also submitted, or is on the verge of submitting, planning applications for a further 900 homes across London.

It is seeking further acquisitions “targeting well-connected sites close to established cultural, social and fitness offerings”.

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Balance Out Living was founded by co-chief executives Sarah Christie and Zafar Bhunnoo. Christie has formerly held senior positions at co-living provider The Collective and shared office space company We Work. Bhunnoo is a former development director at Blackstone.

Christie said: “Our own experiences, including my time living at the Collective Old Oak, taught us just how important home and community is to personal wellbeing. From design through to operations, we have considered how to support our future residents achieve a more balanced, healthy lifestyles and this will be demonstrated at our Battersea development.”

Bhunnoo said: “Our focus is on building a high-quality stabilised portfolio in London, acquiring additional sites where we can deliver schemes of appropriate size and scale, before expanding into other European cities where there are similar underlying market fundamentals that support the growth of co-living.”