L&G and housing association Clanmil agree deal to forward fund 778-home development

Build-to-rent specialist Watkin Jones and developer Lacuna have struck a £155m deal to forward sell their development in Belfast to L&G and housing association Clanmil.

The 778-home Loft Lines scheme, which is part of Belfast’s 185-acre Titanic Quarter regeneration project, is understood to be Northern Ireland’s first BTR scheme.

Loft Lines 4 (003)

Watkin Jones and Lacuna will build the scheme which will then be managed by L&G and Clanmil. The scheme, on a brownfield site used by a shipbuilding company, will include 627 BTR properties and 151 affordable homes.

Loft Lines, on Queen’s Island, will include homes ranging from studios to three-bedroom flats along with recreational spaces, gyms, flexible working space, private dining spaces, games rooms, cinema rooms and children’s play areas.

Alex Pease, chief investment officer at Watkin Jones, said: “Titanic Quarter will develop an area that is steeped in rich history, transforming this brownfield site into a thriving place to live and acting as a catalyst for wider regeneration. We are very pleased to continue investing to support Belfast’s ambitions.

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“The development is being brought to fruition by a true partnership approach between all stakeholders and funders and we are grateful for the genuine collaboration we have experienced with our partners

The Titanic Quarter regeneration project is expected to deliver 5,000 homes as well as commercial, tourism, education and retail schemes.

The deal follows a turbulent period for Watkin Jones, in which it has reported losses of £16.6m in the six months to 31 March 2022, followed by a further loss of £800,000 in the same period this year. It axed around 40 jobs in the wake of last September’s mini-budget.