UNCLE’s collaboration with QuadReal shows that not all investors feel cities are dead
UNCLE announces $1BN transformative investment to grow to over $5BN of assets over the next five years
Realstar Group announced that QuadReal Property Group has invested c.$1B to acquire a majority interest in eight of its UK assets (seven in London, one in Manchester). Four of these assets form part of Realstar’s UNCLE branded rental housing portfolio, including its flagship 45-story tower in the centre of Elephant & Castle, as well its Stockwell, New Cross and Manchester buildings.
QuadReal has already partnered with Realstar on six other UNCLE developments in London, bringing its rapidly growing residential rental portfolio under the UNCLE brand to 10 locations, representing nearly $2.5B of assets and growing.
In addition to its investment in the properties, QuadReal is also acquiring an ownership stake in Realstar’s UK management business which owns the UK rights to the UNCLE brand.
UNCLE was founded by Realstar principal, Ryan Prince, with a mission to bring a sense of trust and decency back to the rental experience. Similar to a hotel chain, UNCLE aims to create neighborhoods in multiple locations, with varying price points in the largest global cities.
Ryan Prince, CEO and Founder of UNCLE, says: “We have worked in partnership with QuadReal and its clients as a trusted business ally for many years. However, under this new relationship they will become partners alongside us in the UK on both the brand and operations, as well as the bricks and mortar. This joined-up approach will be a real advantage in achieving our goal to double (and hopefully triple) the size of the UNCLE portfolio over the next five years.”
“Far from being dead when the pandemic passes, cities will continue to be the lifeblood of global communities. UNCLE’s locations, amenities and most importantly service offers city dwellers what they deserve for their hard-earned money. With vaccines now approved and in circulation, we can now see light at the end of the tunnel.”
Jay Kwan, QuadReal’s Managing Director of Europe, adds: “This transaction represents the natural evolution of QuadReal’s investment strategy in Europe. We are deepening our exposure to a sector we believe in, and more solidly aligning ourselves with a world class partner on the operating side of the business. We are well positioned to continue expanding UNCLE’s reach in the UK.”
Jonathan Dubois-Phillips, QuadReal’s International President, says: “QuadReal’s global real estate portfolio now includes over 50,000 residential rental suites. This commitment reflects our strong conviction to the asset class. We continue to see opportunities to improve the communities we invest in – by addressing the fundamental lack of professionally managed rental accommodation. We have a long, successful track record investing with the Realstar team and we’re extremely confident that partnering with them in the UK operating company will enhance the breadth and depth of UNCLE’s rental housing options.”
Realstar were advised by Eastdil and QuadReal were advised by JLL.
Whether for a night, a year or a decade, Realstar strives to be the most trusted owner and operator of the places its customers call home. Investors and managers of properties for living since 1974, Realstar owns and manages in excess of $8 billion of assets in Canada and the UK. It is a long-term owner and manager of its rental portfolio, which today comprises of over 25,000 apartments. It is the previous owner of Delta Hotels (now part of Marriott) and a portfolio of Holiday Inn hotels comprising of over 13,000 rooms throughout the UK. It also owns the master franchise rights to the Days Inn and Motel 6 brands in Canada. Realstar has been a player in the UK property market for over 18 years and has gone on to acquire or develop in excess of £2.5bn assets. The firm’s strategy has been to target overlooked and misunderstood alternative asset classes such as the primary healthcare, hotel and rental residential sectors. Currently, Realstar UK owns over £1 billion of property, including successful student accommodation brands and build-to-rent brand UNCLE.
Frustrated and surprised by the lack of any consumer brand in the rental living space, UNCLE was established by Ryan Prince in 2017. The brand’s mission is to offer a warm friendly service in design-savvy apartments and amenity spaces combined with a straight-talking, no-nonsense approach for renters from all backgrounds who are tired of being treated like second-class citizens – in short, to take the ‘lord’ attitude out of being a landlord. In the three years since its launch, UNCLE already has five open locations across London and Manchester and a further 5 under construction.
UNCLE: Renting as it should be.
Headquartered in Vancouver, Canada, QuadReal Property Group is a global real estate investment, operating and development company. QuadReal manages the real estate and mortgage programs of British Columbia Investment Management Corporation (BCI), one of Canada’s largest asset managers with a $171.3 billion portfolio. QuadReal manages a $44.2 billion portfolio spanning 23 Global Cities across 17 countries. The company seeks to deliver strong investment returns while creating sustainable environments that bring value to the people and communities it serves. Now and for generations to come.
QuadReal: Excellence lives here.
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