Tower blocks have always been the most efficient means of bringing accommodation to the masses. However, the nature of city centre apartment schemes has changed considerably over the years.

Once a cost-effective stop-gap for city workers – often young professionals – yet to get on the housing ladder, now the private rental sector (PRS) attracts a diverse demographic that takes in mature workers, couples, families and retirees.

These renters seek aspirational living spaces they can call home, long-term, with amenities and facilities that go beyond the four walls of their apartment. This has spurred a new wave of rental accommodation: Build to Rent (BTR).

As urbanbubble reflects on the success so far of our first BTR scheme in Manchester, The Slate Yard, we explore what differentiates BTR from traditional block schemes, why Legal & General have chosen us as their preferred operator, and how we’re shaping the future for city living in the UK.


Fantastic on-site facilities

One of the main selling points of BTR schemes is the on-site facilities. The Slate Yard, for example, has free wifi, a residents’ lounge, personal trainer, and free membership to the Enterprise Car Club, to name a few. All are designed to give residents spaces where they can relax, work and socialise.

Despite scepticism amongst industry players for the value of these spaces, we’ve found an enormous take-up of facilities such as the residents’ lounge. Professionals treat it as a working environment, families play games there, and other residents relax and socialise.

The uptake is largely down to the fact that residents get a say in what they want to see, and feel empowered in creating the space around them. As BTR schemes are institutionally owned, there is only one decision-making authority; this makes it much easier to deliver what the customer wants, and create places where people want to live.


24-hour support

Another factor that makes The Slate Yard (and most BTR schemes) unique, is their ability to benefit from 24-hour on-site support. Staff are based within the building, meaning that any problems or enquiries can be reported immediately, and dealt with much quicker than those processed via traditional channels.

The inclusion of on-site maintenance and management teams facilitates a more one-to-one service for the renter – they know that if an issue arises, it will be sorted swiftly. As a result, busy residents can concentrate on their lifestyle, not on worrying about the place they call home.


A community focus

Living in a city can be incredibly isolating. That’s why many renters now crave accommodation that gives them the opportunity to make friends and feel part of a community, even if that simply involves a sense of security knowing their neighbours.

As part of the service provided at The Slate Yard, residents are given a chance to attend free monthly events hosted by local businesses. They can enjoy complementary drinks and snacks, while getting to know one another and sharing their experiences with our staff.

The first was hosted by Menagerie this August, and saw residents of all ages (including children!) coming together to meet their neighbours and socialise after work. Over two thirds of residents attended, showing the demand for community events in rental accommodation. A free boot camp for residents every Saturday also gives residents the chance to socialise, stay fit and retain a healthy mindset.


The future of renting in Manchester

As a luxury development of 235 apartments, split over two blocks, The Slate Yard is a pioneering BTR scheme launched by Legal & General and operated by urbanbubble. Already, 85% of the 90 apartments released in phase one earlier this year are occupied, with growing interest in the second phase of 135 apartments due for completion in March 2018.

The popularity of The Slate Yard can be attributed to the ethical shift it brings to renting: putting the customer at the heart of both the development and operation of rental schemes, and creating spaces that residents are proud to be in. It’s something that we at urbanbubble feel very passionately about, and the primary reason why Legal & General have selected us as their operator for three further schemes in London, Bristol and Bath, with more in the pipeline.

As a result of the seamless customer experience we are delivering, and the true community feel we have achieved, we are already in discussions with Legal & General about future BTR schemes in the city. We will be disclosing more information about these projects over the coming months.

For more information about The Slate Yard and available properties, or to register your interest for phase two, visit today.


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