Contractor sought for £24m homes fund project

The managers of an innovative £24m fund established to build 240 new homes across Manchester are seeking a construction partner and property management company.

The Housing Investment Fund is a partnership between Manchester City Council and the Greater Manchester Pension Fund, which are providing the land and finance for the project respectively.

Of the 240 homes built at five sites across the city, 100 will be sold and 140 leased to a management company for use as affordable rental properties.

The HIF will generate a revenue return from its investment through rents and a capital return through house sales.

Great Places – Plumlife has been appointed to provide sales and marketing services to the HIF.

The company which will lease 140 properties and find tenants for them is still to be identified.

Interested parties will have until 10 May 2013 to express their interest.

A builder is also being sought.

Property consultancy GVA is advising HIF on the project and says it comes "without the risk associated with a normal development".

GVA's Damian Masters said: "We are essentially looking for a contractor to build the homes for a price and we will pay them.

"This is not a speculative development and therefore it is without the usual risks."

Masters says that architects for the scheme are expected to be appointed at the same time as a contractor or in consultation with the head tenant of the properties built for rental purposes.

The building contractor is expected to be one on the Homes & Communities Agency's development partner panel.

Cllr Jim Battle, Deputy Leader of Manchester City Council, said: "This is an important step for housing investment and this unique scheme, which has been developed in Manchester, is a trailblazer in creating partnerships between the Homes and Communities Agency and the Greater Manchester Pension Fund.

"We are hoping that this scheme will prove a sound commercial investment for the Greater Manchester Pension Fund, while securing investment in homes in to the future. We are also encouraged by enquiries across the country who want to emulate Manchester's example."

The five construction sites are:

Former Oakwood, Darley Avenue, Chorlton Park – 86 units

Former Ossington Court, Hawkswick Drive, Brooklands – 30 units

Former Woodwise Nursery, off Woodwise Lane, Brooklands – 17 units

Off Clowes Street, West Gorton, Ardwick – 29 units

Gorton Monastery, off Gorton Lane, Gorton North – 76 units

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