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Unwanted car dealer sites targeted by £100m land acquisition fund

Expansion drive: McCarthy and Stone chief executive, John Tonkiss

Disused or unwanted automotive sites are being targeted for the development of 60 or more retirement communities across the UK in an ambitious £100 million land acquisition drive.

Retirement village operator McCarthy and Stone is looking to grow on a number of successful partnerships already completed with car retail groups to identify the potential development sites over the next year.

A statement issued by the business today (July 22) suggested that the push had come in response to Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s call to “build, build, build” to aid the economy’s COVID-19 recovery.

McCarthy and Stone is in a strong cash position having recently secured £300 million from the Government’s COVID Corporate Financing Facility (‘CCFF’) to support its ambitious plans.

Its chief executive, John Tonkiss, said: “The Prime Minister is spot on in recognising that housebuilding will be central to the UK’s recovery effort, and more and better housing for older people is a critical part of the mix. 

“We believe our land acquisition fund has the potential to yield long-lasting knock-on effects for the automotive sector, not least because the regeneration of brownfield sites will free-up capital for landlords and business owners looking to reinvest in growth and create jobs. 

“What’s more, centrally-located retirement communities have a role to play in the Government’s drive to revive town centres, and new developments which bring new customers into an area could provide a lifeline for local businesses.

“We now need new land, and lots of it, in order to satisfy this vital initiative.

“With generous commissions available for the right sites, I would urge landowners to submit their introductions directly to us without delay. They will be treated in the strictest confidence.”

McCarthy and Stone’s land search is targeting sites of between 0.5 and five-acres, on central brownfield locations, ideally with level access to shops, and in a prominent location close to the high street or to local amenities.

It said that it would consider every type of land deal, whether unconditional purchase, conditional contract or option agreement.

The 60 new sites required by McCarthy and Stone will complement the company’s existing workflow, having purchased 200 sites over the last four years.

They will offer private apartments and bungalows across a range of tenures with on-site care and support services, helping older people to enjoy an independent and safe lifestyle in their later years.

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