Jessica Hardman, the former head of European portfolio management and UK CEO of DWS, has set up a new real estate investment management business with UK real estate firm Downing.

Hardman and Downing have launched Aboria Capital, a company that will be seeded with Downing’s £1.6bn (€1.89bn) pipeline. Downing’s portfolio pipeline includes 10 new UK projects slated for construction in 2025 and 2026, with the flagship £400m Square Gardens co-living scheme in Manchester which will comprise over 2,500 beds once completed. 

With over 20 years of experience in global real estate investment management, Hardman was recently named president of British Property Federation. She spent the majority of her career at Deutsche Bank and DWS Group, where she served on the global leadership team. 

Last year, Hardman was appointed CEO of DWS Group’s UK operations, while also maintaining her roles as head of European portfolio management and head of UK real estate group. 

Jessica Hardman

Jessica Hardman

Downing, with a 35-year history in real estate development and management, has delivered over £3bn worth of real estate projects across the UK. Its portfolio comprises various subsidiaries, including the Downing Living residential division, Downing Students and the Downing Construction & On-Site Energy businesses.

Hardman said: “Downing is recognised as a seasoned, high-quality living operating and development business.

“The UK and European living sector continues to be the most favoured sector by international investors, especially where managers can offer the benefits of a vertically integrated value chain across both the investment and operational disciplines.”   

Bay Downing

Bay Downing, executive director of Downing

Bay Downing, executive director of Downing, said: “We want to take advantage of the current dislocation in the market and the cyclical investment opportunities in front of us, which will produce long-term generational value.

“We feel now is the right time to launch Aboria Capital, bringing together two hugely complementary skill sets in real estate and global investment management. We look forward to sharing more about our plans for this exciting venture in the near future.” 

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