Patrizia Immobilien is making its first UK private-rented sector (PRS) investment.

The investment manager said it agreed to buy a 20-acre mixed use site in Manchester, with 500 apartments planned for the scheme.

Patrizia said it intended to develop and own the apartments as ‘build-to-let’.

The deal is due to complete next month.

The development will form the foundation of the firm’s plans for a dedicated PRS fund.

The 20-acre, First Street site includes a 180,000 sq ft office building let to Ford, Auto Trader and Jacobs Engineering.

James Muir, managing director at Patrizia UK, said the attractive economic and demographic fundamentals in Manchester were behind the decision to invest in the UK city, along with a “growing trend for urbanisation”.

“We are anticipating strong demand for this centrally located, high-quality accommodation, which will be tailored to PRS,” Muir said.

The site has capacity for development of up to 1m sq ft of office space, in addition to the apartments.

Patrizia will develop office and residential assets on the remainder of the site over the next 5-7 years.

To read more on PRS in the May/June edition of IP Real Estate, click here