Eversheds guides pioneering £3bn private housing vehicle

Eversheds is the sole legal adviser behind UK Regeneration’s innovative £3bn Barclays Capital-backed fund, designed to invest in private rented housing.

UK Regeneration has promised to build 20,000 rental homes across the UK by 2020 through its private rental vehicle. The fund will focus on buying land from local authorities under the Government’s ’build now, pay later’ scheme, and will target mostly inner cities.

The £3bn figure represents the estimated value of the built developments if the fund’s aspirations are met.

Eversheds is being led by development and regeneration group partner Stephen Sorrell. Partners Kuljeet Hothi and Ruth Connorton are also advising on the project, on commercial and procurement issues ­respectively.

Eversheds is the only law firm advising UK Regeneration, but a handful of ­professional services firms have been selected to advise the fund. These are real estate services business Jones Lang LaSalle, commercial letting company Workspace Group, contractor Willmott Dixon Group and Red Box Design Group.

According to Sorrell, Eversheds landed the role through its longstanding relationship with the British Urban Regeneration Association (Bura), which filed for voluntary liquidation in August 2010 and out of whose ashes UK Regeneration was formed.

“UK Regeneration is the post-Bura organisation that’s concentrating on how the private sector can ­deliver regeneration in a post-­recession world,” said ­Sorrell. “We’ve been working with Jones Lang Lasalle on ways to deliver integrated professional services work to regeneration projects and looking at new types of structure to bring private sector cash to public sector surplus land assets. The councils will sell their site into the fund but we want them to feel confident that it will be a development that will produce economic and social outputs.”

Eversheds has been ­developing its approach to ­public-private investment in regeneration projects for a number of years. The firm is about to financially close a new-homes deal between client Oxford City Council and preferred bidder Grosvenor Developments, which will deliver up to 1,000 new homes.