Willmott Dixon has created a new company called be:here to provide an exciting new alternative to young professionals looking for accommodation in the Private Rented Sector (PRS).

Underlining the growing recognition among institutional funds of the PRS market’s investment potential, be:here has reached agreement with M&G Investments’ Secured Property Income Fund to invest in its first scheme, consisting of 233 apartments, a mix of private rental and affordable units adjacent to East India Dock DLR station in East London. The apartments will be owned by M&G and the PRS element managed under the be:here brand.

The site is part of a wider regeneration of the Aberfeldy estate in Tower Hamlets that Willmott Dixon is carrying out with landowner Poplar HARCA to develop nearly 1,200 homes over ten years. be:here’s involvement will add PRS housing to the mix of homes that will be available for sale, shared ownership and affordable rent at Aberfeldy.

With planning permission already obtained, construction of the homes will start immediately, with renters moving in during 2015. The scheme has been made possible through Poplar HARCA’s original vision to transform Aberfeldy into a vibrant mixed-tenure community appealing to a new generation of people looking to move into the area. Poplar HARCA CEO Steve Stride says, "be:here is a strong public/ private partnership that brings investment and has mixed communities at its heart."

be:here is in the process of acquiring further sites across London and at central locations in Manchester, Birmingham, Bristol and Leeds that are each capable of accommodating single developments of 100–400 apartments.

Andrew Telfer, divisional chief executive at Willmott Dixon Regen, says, “I’m delighted we’ve reached agreement with M&G on our first project in East London; it’s the start of a process where be:here will create homes for private rent on an ambitious scale, working with institutions that recognise the sector’s enormous potential to provide long-term revenue to their portfolios and our role in making that happen.”

Homes created by be:here are designed for professional sharers, couples and singles. They feature facilities such as extra storage that many renters highlighted as important during detailed research into what they want when renting.

Andrew says, “We’re offering a positive alternative to home ownership underpinned by our ‘Rent Well Spent’ commitment to tenants. Our whole be:here product proposition has been developed by asking thousands of renters what they want; something we believe has never been done on this scale before. be:here embraces customer needs through apartments and services designed specifically for renters in convenient locations, at fair prices with a landlord they can trust.”