UK department store and supermarket owner the John Lewis Partnership is converting a number of its assets into residential properties through a £500m (€571.8m) development partnership with global asset manager abrdn.

The owner of the John Lewis and Waitrose retail brands said the joint venture is part of the firm’s plans to use its “significant property assets to build much-needed residential homes and diversify our business”.

The John Lewis Partnership said the multi-decade joint venture with Abrdn will deliver around 1,000 new homes in three build-to-rent schemes in London and the South East to help the company to reach 10% of its plan to build 10,000 new homes over the next decade.

The initial plan involves redeveloping Waitrose shops in Bromley and West Ealing into new homes and improved stores. A vacant John Lewis warehouse in Reading is also expected to be transformed into a residential asset. The homes will be developed and managed by the John Lewis Partnership.

Nina Bhatia, executive director for strategy and commercial development at the John Lewis Partnership, said: “Our partnership with Abrdn is a major milestone in our ambition to create much-needed quality residential housing in our communities. Our residents can expect homes furnished by John Lewis with first-rate service and facilities.

“The move underlines our commitment to build on the strength of our brands to diversify beyond retail into areas where trust really matters.”

Neil Slater, the head of real assets at Abrdn, said: “The critical lack of quality rental accommodation in the UK needs to be addressed, so we are delighted to partner with the John Lewis Partnership to provide the required institutional investment.

“The ambitions and responsible ethos of our brands both strongly align, and our partnership should offer investors long-term returns and give residents confidence in a top-quality living experience.”

“We are really pleased to continue to expand Abrdn’s capabilities in real estate and evolve our client offering through this exciting partnership.”

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