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PIC and Octopus Real Estate to build £115m retirement community in St Albans

Senior Living Investment Partners, a partnership between Pension Insurance Corporation plc (“PIC”), a specialist insurer of defined benefit pension schemes, and specialist real estate lender and investor Octopus Real Estate (“Octopus”), today announces its first retirement community investment via a joint venture with Elysian Residences. The joint venture has acquired a nine-acre site with planning consent to develop 124 residences with a Gross Development Value of £115m in an Integrated Retirement Community (“IRC”), in How Wood, in St Albans, Hertfordshire.

PIC has a purposeful investment strategy, through which the company backs the pensions of its policyholders over decades with secure, long-term assets. This means that the company has invested significant sums in sectors which seek to address the lack of accommodation in the UK across the demographic spectrum. This includes addressing the need for temporary accommodation to aid those at risk of homelessness, providing social housing, and build to rent, as well as retirement living.

Senior Living Investment Partners aims to house up to 2,000 people in the coming years across ten IRC developments. The communities developed will have strong ESG credentials, targeting a BREEAM ‘Excellent’ rating and delivering apprenticeship opportunities to local young people.

This development will be luxury retirement living specialist Elysian Residences’ (“Elysian”) sixth IRC. Alongside 80 generous apartments and 44 two-bedroom bungalows, the community will include a restaurant, cafe/bar, library, wellbeing and therapy centre, cinema, village green, and orchard gardens. St Albans is an ideal location for a retirement living development, with a high proportion of owner occupier households aged 65+ in the local area.

IRC developments ease pressure on the NHS through the provision of onsite care facilities and wellbeing amenities, which promote a healthy lifestyle for older residents. It is estimated that each person in a later living development saves the NHS and social services c.£3,500 per year. The strategy of developing retirement communities is in line with the Government’s Levelling Up White Paper published earlier this year, which announced a cross-departmental task force on housing for older people to explore ways to expand housing options for older people across the country.

Max Cawthorn, PIC Capital Senior Strategy Manager, said: “We are delighted to be partnering with Elysian on the How Wood village development, the first investment for Senior Living Investment Partners. Local St Albans residents will be given the opportunity to purchase the residences off-plan first, and we expect high demand for these high quality and well located homes, which will be purpose built to empower our residents to live independently.”

Kevin Beirne, Head of Retirement Living at Octopus Real Estate, said: “Developing more retirement communities at pace presents a brilliant opportunity for investors, operator partners, those approaching or in retirement, and for the UK and the Government’s Levelling Up agenda. This first investment via our partnership with PIC has the prospect to deliver both strong returns for our stakeholders and strong impact returns by combatting some of the UK’s biggest problems, not least the housing crisis and pressures on health services.”

Gavin Stein, CEO of Elysian, said: “We are delighted to be working with PIC and Octopus Real Estate to provide a much needed integrated retirement community in St Albans. Senior Living Investment Partners is further proof of the great potential of this growing alternative residential sector to institutional capital. PIC is at the forefront of driving change, embracing new ideas and identifying innovative solutions in the pensions industry, which aligns well with Octopus’s vision of re-imagining real estate investment by considering purpose and impact as well as profit, along with our own vision to be one of the foremost providers of inspiring and elegant retirement communities in the UK with a focus on putting our customers first. We see our partnership putting customers front and centre, continuing to innovate for the benefit of both customers and society, and working hard to serve all key stakeholders, including the local community. We are actively looking for new sites and investment opportunities to undertake with PIC and Octopus Real Estate.”

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