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Jackie Sadek: ‘We say bollocks to existing volume house building’

Jackie Sadek has gone from being head of regeneration at CBRE to launching her own development company, UKRegeneration, building homes designed for long term rental

What’s the idea behond private rental sector (PRS)?
To build units specifically for rent, rather than building stuff which fails to sell and then renting it. The property industry is very disconnected from its end users. We want to put tenants at the heart of our model.

How is PRS different to standard housing design?
The standard model is bedroom one and bedroom two. Immediately you have a first and a second class citizen; squabbles about who pays more and everyone is compromised like buggers from the off. Here each room has an en suite, with a separate loo for the visitors, three loos in total. We haven’t told Armitage Shanks yet — but it’s good news for them. There’ll also be gyms, concierge and allotments. We want people to make the most of shared spaces, and to give them the opportunity to mix – but it’s not the ministry of fun.

Why isn’t this something that the volume house builders do?
Because they’re shits. They eke out the maximum price from their plots by slowly releasing homes onto the market – putting one out a week or something like that—to keep prices high.

Interesting you call your schemes products…
The branding will be a very important part of what we do. We want [the yet-to-emerge trading name of UK Regeneration] to become a recognisable brand like Coca Cola or BMW. We say bollocks to all the existing stuff out there. We want to [approach VHBs] in the same way that Richard Branson’s Virgin took on stuffy old British Airways, with a new, innovative and attractive product.

How do you think it will be received?
We don’t know. There’s a fairly well established demographic of 20-40 year olds who can’t get mortgages but who want to live somewhere pukka. There’s also a secondary market of older people who may work in a town where they would like to rent during the week who don’t want the buggeration of moving in with other people. Demographics are shifting. There’s a massive increase in people whose kids have grown up and whose marriages are over and who want to live in decent accommodation in cities. And as people are ageing these types of apartments could be a potential answer to their housing needs – without being an obvious retirement community.

It sounds like a slightly similar model to student housing?
The writing is on the wall for the student housing bubble. The economics no longer add up. University has become hugely expensive for prospective students and you are seeing the results: this year the Russell Group of universities entered the clearing process for the first time. We have to move on from the feeding frenzy around student housing.

How much will the flats cost to rent?
Our scheme in Nottingham [with Assael Architects] should be approximately £1250 pcm. Utilities are billed to individuals – just because if people are billed separately then they use less energy. We have an aspiration to have 100m2 flats. In one of our meetings people complained about modern flats in which you couldn’t swing a cat: we want to be able to swing a tiger. The designs won’t be blingy, the flats aren’t designed solely to be sold. We are in this for thirty years plus. It’s in our interests that they will be made of long lasting, durable materials and built well.

Where does the money come from?
Nottingham Funding is 10% Wates, 10-30% government funding and the rest is Motson Global Investment. We need to offer proof-of-concept before any pension funds would get involved. Barclays will come once we do to fund the pipeline of future developments.

What’s the timetable?
we’d like to have 20,000 units by 2020: which would be 4,000 a year.. Clearly we have to prove it works commercially and to take the hard-bitten money and land people along with us, but even now, I’ve 23 sites being offered to me. Once we’ve proved the concept I could see us being inundated.

 

 

 

 

 

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