Family office strikes deal for £100m + Milton Keynes BTR scheme

Alara Investment partners with Zephyr X for office-to-resi development

What Alara has teamed up with Zephyr X to redevelop a former office in Milton Keynes into a build-to-rent scheme

Why Real estate is new area of focus for Alara, which is targeting development opportunities in the living sectors

What next Joint venture partners plan to build a 381-home development

Alara Investments, a UK family office, is partnering with developer Zephyr X to redevelop an office in Milton Keynes into a build-to-rent scheme, React News can reveal.

The joint venture partners plan to build a 381-home scheme on the site of Westminster House, 500 Avebury Boulevard. The proposed development has

an estimated end value of more than £100m.

CBRE has been appointed to help find a forward-funding partner for the development.

Westminster House was one of five properties that flexible office specialist BE Offices sold as part of a drive to pay down debt. All were sold to residential developers.

After acquiring the site, Zephyr X – previously known as Urban Village Group – secured planning permission at the end of 2022 to build a 237-flat scheme. A larger scheme of 381 apartments across six floors is now being pursued.

Graham Haydon-White, managing director of Zephyr X, said: “We are delighted to be working with Alara Investments as our joint venture investor in 500 Avebury Boulevard in Milton Keynes. The 381-apartment scheme located a short walk to both central Milton Keynes and Milton Keynes train station has been submitted for a detailed planning consent hopefully later this year, with a construction start on site in the first quarter of 2025.”

The development is slated to complete in 2027.

New property strategy

Alara is a family office that recently moved into real estate investment, having previously focused on private equity. Earlier this year, it teamed up with Cubex to buy a site in central Bristol for a 550-bedroom student accommodation scheme. Its strategy is to partner with experienced partners on developments, with a focus on living sectors.

Jonathan McLaren and Andrew McLaren, directors at Alara, said the new joint venture was “a landmark step into the build-to-rent sector for Alara and builds on a strong start to 2024 for our property strategy”.

They added: “The upcoming scheme in Milton Keynes is poised to create a vibrant, sustainable community in alignment with the city’s status as one of the UK’s fastest growing urban centres.”