Bridges Ventures, the London-based impact investor, has made its first purchase from its latest property fund, Bridges Property Alternatives Fund (BPAF) IV, with the acquisition of a residential and commercial development in Croydon, south London.
The firm said it intends to develop 350 low-cost residential units, 150 affordable residential units and 140,000 square feet of commercial space at Taberner House, which is located in a brownfield development site and is part of the wider regeneration of Croydon. It is also around five minutes’ walk from the new Westfield/Hammerson shopping center.
Bridges is developing the site in tandem with its long-standing joint venture partner HUB Group, the UK property firm. The seller was Croydon Council, the area’s local authority. Bridges has not yet disclosed the price of the deal.
“The capital’s ever-increasing population is creating a growing demand for lower-cost housing for ordinary Londoners, so developments like these have the potential to deliver strong societal impact – as well as being attractive, resilient investments. Within our property funds we are now in the process of delivering well over 1,000 lower cost units in growth locations in London,” said Simon Ringer, partner and head of property funds at Bridges Ventures.
“Our three previous collaborations with HUB have shown it’s possible to provide both vital new housing and attractive public spaces that serve the needs of the local community; we intend to draw on this experience to do the same for the people of Croydon,” he added.
Bridges said the new fund will follow the same strategy of investing in niche sectors – such as healthcare, education, and affordable residential accommodation – as well as emerging locations with a focus on environmental refurbishment and operational improvement.
The impact investor has previously collaborated with UK property firm HUB on three other housing developments in, or on the outskirts of, London: the Old Vinyl Factory site in Hayes, around 20 miles west of the capital, where nearly 200 units have been pre-sold to PRS investors; Fizzy Living, at Chesterfield House in Wembley, north London, where planning has been granted for 240 units and in Abbey Wood, in the south east of the city, adjacent to the new Crossrail train terminus.
Last month the firm held a £168 million ($220 million; €200 million) first close on Fund IV fund, just three months after launching the vehicle. Bridges did not disclose its target fund size. The firm said at the time that the rapid capital raise was due to strong investor interest, particularly among local authority pension plans which had invested as a combined pool for the first time.
Bridges' previous vehicle, Fund III, closed last summer after attracting more than £212 million, above its original £200 million target. Among the primary local authority pension funds to have invested were Greater Manchester, Merseyside and South Yorkshire. The fund is almost fully invested, with capital deployed in 14 transactions since launching in 2013.