Homes plan for landmark Reading building

Norman Place in Reading, the former home of Covéa Insurance is to be transformed and developed to provide up to 234 highly sustainable BtR homes.
July 13, 2023
A landmark Reading riverside building is to be transformed into more than 200 buy to rent (BTR) homes after being sold to a residential development specialist.

Norman Place, the former home of Covéa Insurance, has been acquired by Packaged Living and Bridges Fund Management.

Property consultancy Vail Williams acted for the vendors, Covéa Insurance, whilst Hollis Hockley advised the purchaser.

The town centre site, which backs directly onto the River Thames west of Reading Bridge, has excellent connectivity, being adjacent to the Elizabeth line entrance at Reading railway station.

Vail Williams Agency Partner Guy Parkes, said: “This is a well-known property in a prime spot along the Thames path and one of the first sites to be seen when exiting the rail station.”

“Now it is to get a new lease of life as Packaged Living and Bridges transform the site into up to 234 BtR residential apartments.

“We were particularly impressed with the way the purchaser’s credentials aligned with our client’s values and our own – particularly around environmental and social responsibilities.

“The town centre retail and leisure amenities are a five-minute walk from the site and there are fast links via both overground rail and the Elizabeth Line tube to London Paddington (27 mins), London Bond Street (35 mins) and Heathrow Airport (48 mins).”

Covéa Insurance is donating the surplus furniture and equipment from the building to a charity to help furnish schools, in Africa, while Packaged Living and Bridges are championing environmental and social values within the design of their schemes.

This includes the incorporation of sustainable materials to reduce embodied carbon and focus on residents’ wellbeing through social amenity spaces.

Ed Ellerington, founder and CEO of Packaged Living, said: “We are delighted to have partnered with Bridges to redevelop this obsolete office building into an institutional-grade BtR scheme, which in turn will encourage more young professionals into the town supporting its economic growth.

“Reading has seen unparalleled growth over the past few years, with surging demand for new good quality homes and a limited supply within the town centre.

“Norman Place, located on the waterfront with vistas over Christchurch Meadows, is a fantastic canvas to create a standout place for people to live close to local employment and the wider amenities of the town.”

Reading town centre and the wider conurbation have experienced a significant growth in population and as a business destination, over the past decade.

The town is ranked in the UK’s top five towns and cities for economic growth and has a significant retention of students and young professionals with high levels of skilled employment, making it an attractive BtR investment both in terms of investor and rental demand.