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US giant reveals procurement approach as £600m plans approved

Greystar Europe will consider appointing more than one contractor to its £600m Ealing Greenford project, it has revealed, after the scheme received planning permission this week.

Speaking to Construction News at the Mipim property industry event in Cannes, Greystar Europe projects director James Pargeter said the £600m development was the largest consented build-to-rent scheme in the UK to date.

The 8.2 ha mixed-use development, approved by Ealing Borough Council on Wednesday, will encompass almost 2,000 homes, a primary school as well as business and retail units.

Mr Pargeter said work may be parcelled up due to the size of the scheme.

“It’s a very large site and it may be too much to have in the hands of a single constructor,” he said.

The developer is aiming for a fast-track delivery and aims to commence enabling works and demolition within the next three or four months, with construction targeted to begin before the end of 2017.

“We’ve pretty much got the [enabling works and demolition works] lined up and that’ll start very shortly,” Mr Pargeter said.

“We want to build this out as fast as possible; we’re looking at a construction programme of six years or so.

“That will bring some challenges around logistics and construction methodology.”

Greystar has been considering offsite and modular construction as part of the delivery mix.

Greystar, which set up in the UK almost four years ago as part of an international expansion, describes itself as the biggest build-to-rent business in the US with more than 400,000 homes managed globally and 12,000 staff.

Greystar Europe project director James Pargeter spoke to CN at this year's Mipim event at Cannes, France

“We’re the largest global operator of rental housing [but] this is a massive milestone for us in terms of building up a business of this nature in the UK,” Mr Pargeter said.

“It’s a type of housing that is desperately wanted [in the UK]. Hopefully it’s the first of many schemes to come.”

Mr Pargeter added that Ealing Greenford was the first project where Greystar had acquired the site, led the design process as a commissioning client and would oversee construction.

“Purpose-built rental housing is a relatively new concept in the UK and this is obviously a very large example of it.”

Five of the seven residential blocks will be for the rental market, with the other two blocks incorporating for-sale units that include affordable housing.

There will also be a school, with the Grade II-listed Glaxo House building providing business space.

Greystar acquired the site in January 2016 and submitted its planning application last September.

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