Fresh build-to-rent proposals lodged for former Dundee College campus

VOX Dundee 3Edinburgh-based property developer Whiteburn Projects has secured £20 million equity investment to launch its VOX Build-to-Rent product, with a view to delivering the first of its proposed projects in Dundee.

Planning permission was granted to the developer in August 2015 for its vision for the former Dundee College of Commerce site, off Constitution Road in the city, however Whiteburn has since refreshed its plans for the site and now submitted a new planning application to Dundee City Council.

The existing college buildings opened in May 1970 and overlook the city and the Tay estuary. It remained in operation for over 40 years until its closure in 2011.

Working with Keppie Design, the developers said VOX Dundee will see the rebirth of the former college campus as a vibrant mixed-use community on the edge of the city centre. The refreshed planning application seeks to create 111 build-to-rent apartments with car parking and 24 serviced apartments. There are plans for a new café fronting Constitution Road, and the flats will have incredible views over Dundee.

VOX DundeeResidents will benefit from a cinema / auditorium, a launderette and an extensive landscaped courtyard. A studio/reception area will facilitate the management of the short stay apartments and ongoing resident support at the development.

Whiteburn’s managing director John Shepherd said: “We are delighted to have formed a new joint venture vehicle for the delivery of VOX, and the £20m equity investment signals a very exciting stage for everyone involved.

“Our ‘Build-to-rent’ product aims to deliver a vital part of the nation’s housing strategy in our cities, and we’re excited that our first location will be Dundee, given our previous investment in the local area with our successful developments at Parkview and Ashludie House, Monifieth.

“For me personally, it continues my family’s legacy of investing in Dundee and helping to stimulate the local economy for which I’m immensely proud.

“With our VOX product, we aim to create spaces where people choose to live and enjoy the freedom of renting their home.”

VOX Dundee 2Eve McCurrich, Whiteburn’s projects director, added: “We are exploring further opportunities both in Scotland and across the UK for future VOX locations. However, the support from the Scottish Government in recognising that ‘Build-to-rent’ can offer a professionally managed solution to deliver homes in our cities has been key to our bringing this inward investment into Scotland.

“Dundee is ideally placed for the creation of our first VOX, because the city is vibrant, proactive and forward thinking. We believe that our cities can and should be fantastic places to live. VOX will deliver buildings for people to live without having to compromise on amenity and quality of service, which is so often lacking in the current rental stock.”

In a statement Keppie wrote: “This model supports Scottish Government’s active pursuit of a private rental sector that provides good quality homes with a high standard of management. The Vox model is fundamentally sustainable: in Britain we continue to swallow green belt and expand our suburbs, in search of bigger homes, bigger gardens and ‘idealised’ communities.

“Meanwhile many of our city centres have declined. It is not enough to tell people that city living is more sustainable. To encourage people to recolonise our urban centres we need to make our cities ‘liveable’. Vox provides a prototype for development that we believe could contribute to a sustainable future for our cities.”

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