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Investor Newsletter

Creating a sense of place

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Here, in the first of a series of articles, we talk the partner organisations and businesses that make Portergate’s Riverside House such a great and continuing success story

Ian Tidd, director of Salford-based letting agents The Property Place, is well used to receiving praise from parents whose youngsters are enjoying the lifestyle and vibe created at Riverside House.

The praise comes as no surprise to him. He says it is a testament to Riverside’s fantastic facilities, its high levels of security and the friendly and professional approach of all the staff.

The Property Place has worked with the Riverside team from day one, building up a strong working relationship over the years.

Ian says: “There are massive positives when it comes to selling Riverside House to students and parents, from the quality

Ian and Christina from The Property Place

of its bedrooms to the fantastic, friendly people who work there. They are just really nice people.

“The 24 hour security that Riverside offers is also a big positive, particularly with parents. We get positive comments and feedback about this from parents all the time, which is great and shows the Riverside team is doing something right.

“It’s a really competitive market out there and you’ve got to be better than everyone else. It’s common for students to spend just their first year in halls before moving out to house-shares.

“However, at Riverside we have students who are spending two or three years there, they don’t want to move, they enjoy it so much. And that’s another sign that the team is getting things right.”

Ian adds: “A lot of the success we have had with Portergate is down to professional relationships. We consider the team at Riverside House to be one of the best to deal with; they are more like friends to us.”

Founded more than seven years ago The Property Place is built on the key foundation to ‘exceed client’s expectations through professionalism, innovation, and personal service’.

Ian says: “A sign of the success we have at The Property Place is the fact that a large proportion of our business is from satisfied clients who have referred our services to family and friends.

“Our aim is to provide our clients with a “calmer” and more personal experience in order to make their move run as smoothly and professionally as possible.”

The Property Place is also proud sponsor of the world-famous Battersea Dogs Home.

New faces at Riverside House strengthen our team

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A number of new faces have arrived at Riverside House as we continue to strengthen our highly motivated team and prepare for the opening of our ‘sister’ operation in Preston.

Steve Dyson

Elaine Mason is Riverside’s new accommodation manager and Steven Dyson is in charge of maintenance at the Salford development.

Both will also carry out the same role at Portergate’s new £18 million Friargate Court development in Preston’s University Quarter, which will open later this year.

Elaine, from Lytham, brings with her a wealth of experience in the hotel and education sectors, including life as housemistress at a boarding school for girls. She has also worked for hotel groups across the UK.

Elaine

Elaine Mason

Steven, from south Manchester, is experienced in a whole host of trades – from electrics and plumbing to joinery – which are ideal in fulfilling the role of ensuring

Lorraine Arrigonie

both developments are properly looked after.

Lorraine Arrigonie is another new arrival to Salford. She joins the Riverside House team as accommodation supervisor and concierge.

A former health and social care student at Manchester Metropolitan University, Lorraine, from Droylsden, has a wealth of experience in the accommodation sector.

Hannah Southworth is our chairman Anthony Jackson’s new PA and another important part of the backroom operation that ensures the smooth day-to-day running of

IMG_9767

Hannah Southworth

Portergate Property Management and Riverside.

Her administration tasks include operating the office’s diary management system, arranging meetings and ensuring that paperwork is up to date and in order.

Hannah, who is originally from the Preston area, has worked as a PA in the offices of major North West legal practices and recruitment companies and has qualifications in business administration.

Fun times at Riverside

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Happy students at Riverside House joined in the fun as our staff organised a series of events throughout the year to make them feel at home.

To celebrate Chinese New Year the team decked out our front foyer with Chinese lanterns, waving ‘good luck’ cats and posters.

Everyone got a Valentine’s Day treat with sweets and chocolate favours handed out to residents in the reception area.

To celebrate St Patrick’s Day residents had the best view in the house to enjoy the big Sunday parade as it made its way12923108_1700675730171271_138812389666992195_n past Riverside.

Easter also proved to be a cracking affair. Sweet-toothed residents had an ‘egg-citing’ time thanks to Portergate’s departing accommodation supervisor Hannah Gronan.

In one of her last roles at the company before moving on to pastures new, Hannah arranged an Easter egg hunt with a difference for those students who hadn’t gone home for the holiday weekend.

10 Easter bunnies were drawn and hidden around the building. If they were brought back to reception the finder received one of these treats.

It proved a popular holiday pastime – with one eagle-eyed resident bagging five of the eggs!

Elaine Mason, Riverside House manager, said: “Quite a few of the residents who I’ve spoken to said how much they enjoyed the challenge and have said how nice it was for us to think of those who couldn’t go home to their families for Easter.”

New film brings Riverside right before your eyes

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When you live far away from your investment, it’s good to be able to take a closer look.

We asked four student residents at Riverside House to swap college for the camera to star in a new film about their Salford home from home and give you an in depth tour of the building and its facilities.

Shannon Walsh, a 23-year-old independent filmmaker from Warrington, spent the day at our acclaimed student accommodation on the banks of the Irwell capturing the Riverside vibe.

And she was helped by a cast of happy volunteers who went in front of the camera. They included James Burgess, 26 from Macclesfield, who is studying drama and media at Salford.

He was joined by Jimmy Haran, 20 from Cleveleys, near Blackpool, another business management student at Manchester Met and Ruth Afaiko, 25 from Nigeria, who is studying international business and law at the University of Salford.

Eileen Alupo, 21 from Surrey, a business and tourism management student at Salford, also features on the film, as does Josh Brearley, 19 from Chorley, who is studying business management at Manchester Metropolitan University.

The work will be used to promote Riverside and Portergate – particularly to international students and their families – and highlights the quality and levels of service and support students at the hotel-class property receive once they move in.

For students like Ruth, in particular, coming from Africa the film is particularly useful since they can see exactly what Riverside House looks like – something that’s simply not possible from photography, which is usually stylised and taken in show apartments rather than the entire building including entrances and communal areas.

We commissioned Shannon’s company Walsh Films, which creates corporate, live event and short drama films, to shoot to the work. Freelance sound recordist Jack Lynskey, also from Warrington, and Cardiff-based music composer Joseph Roberts also worked on the project.

The film can be seen here on our website.

Security and service are paramount at Riverside House and students benefit from a day time House Manager, 24-hour concierge and on-site maintenance. For personal security, each floor and all rooms are accessed by swipe card.

This latest promotional film is part of Portergate’s successful and ongoing multi-media approach to marketing.

It’s also a commitment to clearly and honestly showing prospective residents exactly what we offer and the high standards we have set.

Season’s Greetings

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The team at Portergate Property Management wishes all our investors, colleagues, staff and students greetings of the season and a prosperous, safe New Year.

In keeping with our community ethos, this year we have chosen local charity, the Wood Street Mission, to support and staff and residents have all been helping out.

The charity has, for 143 years, been offering practical help to children and families living in Manchester and Salford with everyday items most of us take for granted.

Its Christmas Appeal, which Portergate and the Riverside team are supporting, helps some 2,000 local families during the holiday season, but its work is a 12-month operation to help alleviate poverty in the area.

You, too, can join in by making a donation to the Wood Street Mission here: https://www.justgiving.com/woodstreetmission/donate/

 

Delivering continuity of service as standard

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Continuity and high standards are the hallmark of the management ethos at Riverside House.

The team at Riverside, many of whom have been with Portergate Property Management from the very beginning, prides itself on delivering excellent customer service – it’s one of the reasons why students are flocking to enjoy its boutique hotel-style accommodation.

And to help Portergate continue to achieve that level of care 24/7 it has strengthened the team with the appointment of its latest member. Hannah Gronan has joined the student accommodation’s staff as concierge.

Hannah has all the attributes that makes Portergate staff stand out – providing the friendly help and support for students which have become their hallmarks.

She is well equipped to deal with any problems students may have after spending time developing her skills as a customer service advisor at a housing association based in Oldham.

Her skills and experience include dealing with tenants and customers queries, general housekeeping, promoting and filling vacancies, identifying and reporting maintenance and repairs.

Hannah is a qualified first aider and holds a NVQ Level 2 Qualification for Delivering Excellent Customer Service.

And the clear staff development plan at Portergate will see Hannah promoted to Accommodation Supervisor in the New Year.

Karen Preece, managing director of Portergate Property Management, says much of the Riverside success story is down to the hand-picked multi-lingual staff that operates to such high standards.

She says: “We’re delighted to have Hannah on board as the latest addition to our staff team here at Riverside House.

“We’re sure that she will make a valuable contribution to the lives of students here. The role of concierge is an important one in helping make our students’ stay as comfortable and problem free as possible and Hannah’s experience in customer service is already proving to be of great help.

“The tremendously high standards that we set reflect the demands and expectations of today’s students, and in particular their parents, who expect their sons and daughters to live in hotel-class accommodation while they enjoy their higher education.

“We are here to protect and maintain the investment for our clients and that is why we always insist on high levels of customer service and standards.”

Second phase of Salford regeneration unveiled

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Ambitious plans for the £9 million second phase of the Riverside House development in Salford have been unveiled by Portergate.

And it means attractive new opportunities for investors to play their part in the continuing Riverside success story and the increasing pace of regeneration of the area.

The riverfront apartment scheme promises to add another exciting chapter to both the growth of the forward-thinking development company and Salford.

Portergate Developments is seeking planning consent to create 45 luxury one, two and three bedroom apartments, along with a convenience store and café on the prime site, next to the successful £8 million hotel-style student accommodation building on the banks of the River Irwell.

The apartments, many with balconies and river views, will be managed by Portergate’s property management arm and are aimed at young professionals, key workers and first time buyers.

The project will become the only bespoke private apartment residence, including a number of duplex apartments, on the stretch of the Irwell that leads directly into Manchester’s Cathedral Quarter and main shopping district.

The café will be located on the first floor of the development to give it river views.

The proposed plan also involves improvements to the riverside walkway and secure car parking for residents.

Anthony Jackson, chairman of Portergate, is confident the development will attract investors, including those who have already seen good returns from their initial investment in Riverside House.

He believes Phase II of Riverside, on a vacant 2,350 sq metre site backing onto St Simon Street, will also play another key role in the continued regeneration of the area, providing much needed homes for ambitious young people in the city.

A planning application has been submitted to Salford City Council and the proposals are set to be discussed early next year.

The proposed development has been designed by leading North West architecture practice Studio KMA.

The decision to go ahead with the development follows the continuing success of Riverside House, which is now attracting students from across the globe and sold out its 242 hotel-class rooms in record time this September.

Anthony Jackson said: “Riverside House has been a major success story for us. Students really enjoy the experience of living there and the demand for apartments is testament to the quality of the accommodation and the service provided.

“The next phase of Riverside promises to be even more successful, with luxury apartments aimed at graduates, young professionals and key workers.

“We believe there is a massive demand for this well-designed style of city living in the area and, coupled with the strong retail and restaurant offering, it is something the community in the area is crying out for.

“We’re already seeing a lot of interest in this second phase from existing and new investors, who are excited by the plans we have drawn up to deliver a building that is as stylish and welcoming as Riverside House.

“It really is a question of watch this space! We will be looking to start work on the development as soon as we get planning permission.”

Andrew Titterton, director of Oldham-based Studio KMA, said: “The proposal substitutes a vacant depot site with a high quality residential-led mixed use development.

“It also improves upon the pedestrian link between St Simon Street and the River Irwell, an immeasurable benefit to the surrounding residential area.

“The aim has to provide further choice to apartment living in Salford. The proposal comprises both single and dual aspect accommodation a number of which are duplex layouts.”

Why the UK’s student accommodation market is top of the class

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Record numbers of students in Manchester and Salford are looking for high quality accommodation like Riverside House – with demand continuing to grow across the two cities.

And that increasing call for modern, luxury living spaces, which is being seen across the country, continues to drive investment in the UK’s student accommodation market, according to the latest research seen by Portergate Property Management.

In fact, experts at real estate advisors Savills are predicting that investment in the UK’s market is set to exceed the USA for the first time ever.

The prediction was carried in Savills’ World Student Housing Report, published recently and which attracted widespread publicity in the property media.

According to reports, the UK saw an investment of $6.5 billion, excluding land sales, compared to just over $3 billion in the USA, with the new figures showing the UK’s record numbers were driven by foreign investment.

Marcus Roberts, Savills’ director of Student Investment and Development, was also reported stating that the UK remained the second most popular destination for international students.

There was more bullish news in Savills’ 2015 Spotlight on UK Student Housing report published in November, which also confirmed the market is witnessing record levels of investment.

It said: “With a proven track record of returns and strong demand from students, the first five months of 2015 have seen record investment into the sector from across the globe.”

The report also had good news for the Manchester student accommodation market. It remains buoyant, as seen by the fact Riverside is attracting the attention of students from educational establishments across the city.

Manchester has been promoted to the top flight of Savills Development League Table which considers the potential for future development of direct led purpose built student accommodation.

The report says: “Manchester is promoted into the First league, reflecting both strong demand and a need for more supply.”

Karen Preece, managing director of Portergate Property Management, says the company has witnessed first-hand how that demand for quality student accommodation in Manchester and Salford continues to grow.

She said: “You only have to look at the demand we saw in September from students studying in educational establishments across the area.

“The fact is that in both Manchester and Salford we are seeing record numbers of students looking for high quality accommodation like Riverside.”

It all adds up to make student accommodation an increasingly attractive investment prospect.

As Savills reports: “The student housing market has come of age and is no longer a specialist or alternative investment class.”