10 February 2016

Forsters advise on acquisition of stake in Pocket Living

Forsters has advised one of the most prominent privately-owned US real estate companies, Related Companies (Related), on its expansion into the UK affordable housing market through the acquisition of a 50% stake in London-based affordable housing provider Pocket Living (Pocket).

Pocket, which launched over ten years ago, focuses on the development of specialist compact one bedroom homes, which are aimed at young, middle-earning Londoners looking to enter the housing market.  Homes are sold at 20% below market value to only local buyers that earn beneath a set annual income level, with the same criteria applying to subsequent sales to ensure that the homes remain affordable in perpetuity.

To date, Pocket has developed 200 homes in various locations across the capital, including a RIBA award winning 32 one-bedroom apartment scheme in Fermoy Road, Westminster (in partnership with Land Securities), and further schemes in boroughs including Hackney, Lambeth and Camden.

The acquisition of the 50% share by Related, from Pocket's co-founders, will drive further expansion of the business, with Pocket aiming to increase supply to around 700 homes a year and complete 4,000 homes by 2023. Pocket is also seeking to expand into the two-bedroom compact market.

Related, which started out as a multi-family affordable housing provider in 1972, has diversified to become a fully integrated, real estate industry leader with expertise across the sectors, owning and operating a portfolio of high quality assets valued at over $20 billion including luxury residential, affordable and workforce apartments, commercial, retail and mixed-use developments. Related's other real estate interests in the UK include a partnership with the Argent group, whose projects include the King's Cross regeneration scheme.  In the United States, Related is undertaking the development of Hudson Yards, a new 28-acre neighbourhood on the west side of New York City.

Head of Commercial Real Estate, partner Matthew Swainston, headed up the cross-practice group team advising Related. Christine Dubignon led on the provision of corporate advice assisted by Aaron Morris, with Jade Capper assisting on real estate matters. Partner Elizabeth Small provided tax advice and Rachel Sandham led on employment issues.


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