Liverpool developer Elliot Group, working with London-based Valorem Investment Partners, has appointed capital markets advisor HFF to arrange “key strategic equity relationships” as it looks to step up to working with institutional-calibre investors.
Since 2013, Elliott has become one of the region’s busiest developers, with a series of residential projects in Liverpool, Manchester and Leeds backed by retail investors. Founder Elliot Lawless said that with delivered product now standing in excess of £800m, it is an “opportune” time to approach more senior backers.
Lawless said: “We’ve demonstrated an outstanding track record of delivery for our investors, with attractive capital growth and consistent yield performance through our very hands-on lettings and asset management strategies.
“We’ve seen a positive shift in institutional investors’ attitudes towards Liverpool. I think Hermes setting record rentals at their Cargo Building in Baltic opened a few eyes.
“The scale of our pipeline, when set against our track record and the current market, means that the time is now right to work with institutional partners to drive our programme forward. We have 1,250 units confirmed on four of the best city centre sites in the North of England for them to consider.”
The London office of US-headquartered HFF will, said Elliot, lead a global search for funding partners seeking to support growth in the UK’s build-to-rent (BTR) market.
The pipeline projects of Elliot have been profiled for joint venture equity partners and an investment prospectus published for Elliot’s The Address scheme in Liverpool’s Ropewalks, an 11-storey 200-home development.
John Starkie, HFF’s UK managing director, said: “Elliot Group was amongst the first northern developers to recognise how under-served the UK market was for high-quality rental properties. This move towards institutional funding seeks to tap into global equity and other institutions’ desire to participate in the strong fundamentals of the UK BTR market, while partnering with best-in-class developers and operators.”
Valorem is headed by Anthony Maxwell-Jones, formerly of Castleforge Partners, who is expected to bring to bear his experience in site identification, securing of planning approvals, and project management. He was previously involved in the formation of the Inhabit portfolio, which involved aggregating regional land sites and obtaining planning consent for 3,500 build-to-rent units, which attracted the attention of suitors including Greystar earlier this year.
He said: “Given Elliot’s proven and extensive track record of delivering high-calibre residential product, Elliot Group is the ideal partner for this new venture. I had the pleasure of working with Elliot Group while I was at Castleforge, and can rest assured that they are one of the strongest players in the space.”
At a local level, the move underlines that Elliot is keen to demonstrate the quality and solidity of its offer, at a time when the wider development sector in Liverpool has been criticised, along with the city council, for failing to deliver on large schemes, with some projects stalling amid bad feeling among investors.
Lawless was among the developers who spoke approvingly of the city’s proposals to improve the image and performance of the sector at the start of July.