Ilford’s Pioneer Point sold to Canadian real estate investors for £100million

PUBLISHED: 11:58 18 February 2020 | UPDATED: 13:00 18 February 2020

Pioneer Point in Ilford town centre

Pioneer Point in Ilford town centre


The twin towers of Pioneer Point, the most iconic feature of Ilford’s skyline, have been sold to a Canadian property investor in a deal worth around £100million, it has been announced today.

Pioneer Point in Ilford town centrePioneer Point in Ilford town centre

Global real estate investment company Kennedy Wilson, based in Beverly Hills, California, announced it had sold the 294-unit towers, including 35,000 square feet of commercial space, to RealStar for $130million - the equivalent of £99,710,000.

Kennedy Wilson, which has owned Pioneer Point for the last four years, said the sale was part of a drive to recycle more capital funding into other investment opportunities.

The company said that since taking over it had lengthened leases in the development's North Tower, commissioned and leased the South Tower and converted empty ground floor spaces into new amenities including an on-site concierge and property management suite.

Mike Pegler, Kennedy Wilson's head of UK, added: "Since opportunistically acquiring Pioneer Point, we executed a wide ranging, value enhancing asset management program that put a spotlight on the breadth of our asset management expertise and brought new life to this landmark building.

The Pioneer point towers in IlfordThe Pioneer point towers in Ilford

"The renovations, top-tier management and continued demand for rental housing in this local market resulted in a strong total return to Kennedy Wilson as we continue to focus on disposing non-core assets, recycle capital into other investment opportunities and to fund existing development projects.

"We are delighted that a long-term multifamily operator will continue delivering a positive experience for the residents of Pioneer Point."

Any visitors to Ilford, or even just drivers round the A406, will recognise Pioneer Point's unique architecture.

But the development has not been without its fair share of controversy over the years.

It was hailed as the future of Ilford when plans were first mooted in 2003, but the skyscrapers quickly became seen as a white elephant, emblematic of the housing crisis.

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In 2012, months before the building was completed, Empire Ltd, a subsidiary of the developer Empire Property Group, went into administration.

While the North Tower began to fill up, the South Tower remained empty.

Residents saw the building as a project which benefitted developers and not Ilford locals.

In 2014 it was revealed that the luxury flats were not being filled to avoid paying the £5million affordable housing contribution to Redbridge Council, which would be due when the blocks hit 75pc occupancy.

But when Kennedy Wilson Europe took over in February 2016, the company was keen to change the narrative, and soon had the South Tower fully furnished. It officially opened on June 14 2017.

It paid the affordable housing contribution owed to Redbridge Council in full in the hope of attracting families to the development's luxury rental flats.

But three years later, it has sold the entire scheme to RealStar, a real estate investment and management company, based in Toronto, which focuses on rental residential, hospitality and alternative asset classes.

RealStar's managing partner Ryan Prince commented: "Whether for a night, a year or a decade, Realstar strives to be the most trusted owner and operator of the places our customers call home.

"We believe that properly managed, large-scale residential rental assets are a critical element to help solve London's housing needs and Pioneer Point represents a great opportunity to help more residents experience our 45-year track record of award-winning customer service alongside great amenities and convenient location."

"Furthermore, we're incredibly excited to continue our 25+ year investment relationship with QuadReal.

"Pioneer Point is a unique investment as the core strategy for the partnership is to acquire and develop new-build rental properties as we've done to date in Wembley, Southall and Colindale.

"The joint venture is already well under way, with over £400m of assets already secured and we look forward to finding additional opportunities with a view to reaching over £1B of assets over the upcoming year or two."

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