ECF, a development company partnership set up in 2001 to invest investment in cities and towns in England, is receiving additional equity from its partners Homes England, Legal & General and Muse Developments, doubling its size to £400m (€467.5m).

The partnership formerly known as the English Cities Fund has received an additional £100m of equity from its partners, which is being matched by an additional £100m of debt, to provide the firm with the capacity to grow to £400m.

ECF, which was created with £100m of investment to boost priority regeneration areas, doubled its investment in cities and towns in England to £200m in 2018 and said it was on track to deliver five schemes in England with a total value of £1.6bn.

Following the latest capital injection, ECF said by 2036 it expects to deliver more than 1m sqft of commercial space to support education; 17,000 new homes; and additional social infrastructure to support health and wellbeing.

ECF said since its first investment in Liverpool in 2001 it has now completed five mixed-use regeneration projects across England (Liverpool, London, Plymouth, Salford, and Wakefield) and delivered 2,150 homes in new neighbourhoods, along with 1,150,000sqft of office, retail, and leisure space, among others.

Michael Lyons, chair of ECF, said: “ECF has had a real impact on cities such as Salford, Liverpool, London and Plymouth. We have really changed the places in which we have invested. We have provided homes, jobs, work space and new public realm. We always take a long-term view, emphasise sustainable change and work closely with local partners, sharing risks and rewards where that is possible.

“With this further expansion we will be able to invest in new towns and cities and will continue to bring our unique mix of policy expertise, long term investment and development capability to support their communities.”

Peter Denton, CEO of Homes England, said: “Spanning two decades, the English Cities Fund has a track record of delivering truly transformational places in areas that need it the most.

“This expansion will support ECF’s strong project pipeline, continuing the work of this long-standing partnership and creating vibrant new places, jobs, homes and opportunities across the country.”

Laura Mason, CEO of Legal & General Capital, said: “This additional injection of capital allows ECF to expand at pace as it continues to deliver strong returns and positive impact. The partnership between Homes England, Legal & General and Muse benefits from deep sector knowledge and access to a unique pipeline of assets which deliver investment opportunities that create long-term, secure income streams that tackle some of the major social, environmental and economic issues facing society.   

“With an increased appetite from other purpose-driven investors looking to access opportunities that drive returns, alongside impact, we recognise that this is an attractive partnership.”  

Bill Hughes, global head of LGIM Real Assets, said: “ECF is a prime example where the public sector, institutional investors, and sector experts can work hand in hand to deliver much-needed social infrastructure that supports locations which may have been left behind.

“We’re sure that the next decade of regeneration projects will bring further successes, positive social and environmental impact and like-minded new partners to invest capital alongside us into projects that can help to drive financial returns with positive social and environmental outcomes.”

Phil Mayall, managing director at Muse, said: “ECF has, and continues to deliver complex, impactful, and sustainable regeneration. Working in partnership with Homes England and Legal & General, ECF is unique in its ability to deliver challenging regeneration over the long term.  

“ECF’s expansion is testament to the team’s success over two decades, with a track record of delivery. With greater resources, we will have an even greater impact on places and communities. Our team will work with new and existing partners, across all the regions in which we operate, to realise this potential in a way which delivers genuine social value.” 

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