UK Department Store Repurpose Car Parks to Create 10,000 Homes
UK department store John Lewis has revealed its plans to become a residential landlord by converting its own shop car parks into rental housing across the UK. Over the next decade, approximately 10,000 John Lewis homes will be built on sites that also include plots above the retailer’s Waitrose supermarkets and next to its distribution centres.
The employee-owned company said the plans draw on its “social purpose” and are an effort to help address Britain’s housing shortage. It is also hoped to revive its fortunes following the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on UK high streets and growing competition from its online rivals.
“As a business driven by social purpose, we have big ambitions for moving into property rental to address the national housing shortage and support local communities,” said John Lewis executive director of strategy and commercial development Nina Bhatia.
“It will also provide a stable, long-term income for the partnership, new employment opportunities for our partners and plays to our strength as a trusted brand known for strong service.”
First homes to be built in southeast England. So far, John Lewis has identified space for 7,000 of the 10,000 rental homes across its existing property portfolio. However, the company said that some homes will also be built on new sites, with the retailer preparing to submit a number of planning applications in early 2022.
The first John Lewis homes are planned for southeast England and will range from studio flats to four-bedroom houses. However, the company is confident there will be opportunities for homes to be built across the country due to the extent of the housing crisis, which is seeing property prices skyrocket nationwide.
John Lewis furniture will be available to hire. Future residents of a John Lewis home will be able to use their own furnishings or hire furniture from the retailer as part of their rent. This follows John Lewis’ recent announcement that it was to begin renting its furniture out to customers following a successful trial, as it is a “sustainable choice for our customers”.