Urban&Civic buys huge housing scheme from administrators

Grant Prior 7 years ago

Urban&Civic has bought 907 acres of freehold land at Priors Hall in Northamptonshire for £39.9m from the administrators of the original owners.

The developer has also acquired a further 58 acres of adjoining woodland for an additional £550,000 in a separate deal.

Priors Hall has an existing outline planning consent for 5,095 units, some of which has been sold to seven different housebuilders and is in the process of being built out. 

The development is split into three residential phases with the new homes set within lakes, open parkland and forests.  

Urban&Civic is acquiring 3,656 uncontracted plots, substantively comprising Phases 2 and 3 and the benefit of outstanding sums on Phase 1.

The scheme already has more than 1,000 residents and housebuilders on site include Barratt and David Wilson, Taylor Wimpey, Kier and Francis Jackson Homes. 

There were close to 200 housing completions at Priors Hall in the 12 months to March 2017. 

Priors Hall Primary School for 420 children had its first intake in September 2016, and is adjacent to the Foster Associates designed Corby Business Academy, which opened in 2008. 

The purchase of Priors Hall is being part funded by the Homes and Communities Agency which is also making available additional facilities to cover future forecast infrastructure spend. 

Total committed facilities from the HCA for the transaction are £45.4m.

Nigel Hugill, Chief Executive of Urban&Civic, said: “Priors Hall offers exceptional upside for shareholders and demonstrates the ability of Urban&Civic to work through large site challenges that other developers often find too daunting.

“The acquisition is right in our sweet spot: complicated history, long and supportive funding structure, demonstrable potential for better project organisation and improved planning.

“Plus the fundamentals are strong: 68 minute direct rail service into London and 7 million people living within 50 miles.

“Recent house price growth in the local area is amongst the highest in the country, whilst Priors Hall has been achieving sales of around 200 new homes a year despite being under managed and over leveraged.

“We believe our skills and experience as incoming Master Developer confer competitive advantage for which we expect to be rewarded with superior returns.”

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