We’ve all heard the phrase “American-style renting” but what exactly does it mean? Renters in Sheffield are about to find out. Last week, build-to-rent operator Grainger launched Brook Place, a brand-new residential development 10 minutes from Sheffield city centre comprising 237 “American-style professional private rental homes”. It is the first scheme in the city built and designed specifically for renters.
So what’s on offer at Brook Place? Fully-furnished studios and one- and two-bedroom apartments are available, with all utilities ready to go from day one, a selection of furnishing options and fully integrated appliances. Residents also get super-fast Wi-Fi and they can easily work from home in the co-working space. There’s also a choice of a residents’ lounge and a games corner with table football plus three roof terraces and a podium garden to chill out and unwind.
So far so standard – none of this sounds particularly new. The ‘stay as long as you want’ contract at Brook Place, with tenancies of up to three years is becoming the norm for build-to-rent developments. As is the 24-hour gym, onsite management, concierge desk and bicycle storage. But there are some notable features that may give the scheme an edge.
For starters, residents have the choice of two themed interior styles. Most renters don’t get to choose their décor but Grainger are offering colour palettes in either blue and grey or copper and red hues, inspired by the nearby Peak District. And those who opt for a longer tenancy will be able to paint and decorate their apartments, giving them the chance to personalise their new home; something which is often not possible in traditional renting.
Another feature that is being imported from the US is the emphasis on ‘lifestyle’ events to bring residents together, such as cooking classes that will be hosted in the ‘experience kitchen’, which features professional kitchen equipment including a pizza oven.
Food for thought for other BTR providers? Our Manchester office LifebyRingley will be keeping a close eye on the success of Brook Place. Some of these ideas could become a model for others to follow.