John Lewis partner with developer in Reading to build homes

John Lewis has plans to replace its closed warehouse in Reading town centre into homes.

This month, the John Lewis Partnership announced a joint venture with Scottish investment company abrdn to build homes across John Lewis Partnership’s sizeable estate.

The warehouse in Mill Lane, Reading, officially known as John Lewis Customer Collections, is vacant and listed as permanently closed on Google.

The site is located opposite The Oracle Shopping Centre car park within Reading’s Inner Distribution Road, and is a short walk from the town centre.

The plan for the site is in its embryonic stages.

It’s unclear how many homes are envisaged for the site as no official plan has been submitted yet.

READ MORE: The Oracle in Reading could be transformed with 475 apartments planned

It has been announced that the properties will be ‘build to rent’ to address a supposed shortfall in homes to rent.

John Lewis Partnership and abrdn’s joint venture is worth £500 million  and stretches across multiple decades.

Announcing the agreement, John Lewis Partnership’s executive director for strategy and commercial development said: “Our partnership with abrdn is a major milestone in our ambition to create much-needed quality residential housing in our communities.

“Our residents can expect homes furnished by John Lewis with first-rate service and facilities.

“The move underlines our commitment to build on the strength of our brands to diversify beyond retail into areas where trust really matters.”

READ MORE: ‘Disappointed’ shoppers reacts to ‘more flats’ planned for The Oracle

Neil Slater, head of real assets at abrdn, said: “The critical lack of quality rental accommodation in the UK needs to be addressed, so we are delighted to partner with the John Lewis Partnership to provide the required institutional investment.

“The ambitions and responsible ethos of our brands both strongly align, and our partnership should offer investors long-term returns and give residents confidence in a top-quality living experience.”

A first public consultation for the site in Reading is expected in 2023.

The transformation of the warehouse site in Reading forms part of the John Lewis Partnerships’ vision to build 10,000 new homes over the next decade.

The first stage of this vision is to build a total of 1000 homes across three sites, the one in Reading, and in Bromley and West Ealing in London.

Abrdn gained attention in Reading in early 2022 when it revealed a proposal to replace a row of stores at Forbury Retail Park with 900 homes.

No application for the proposal at Forbury Retail Park has been submitted to Reading Borough Council’s planning department yet.

John Lewis and Waitrose merged in 2018.

The John Lewis Partnership’s plans for the two sites in London involve redeveloping Waitrose locations to provide new homes and improved stores.

Reading Chronicle | Town Centre