Stoke-on-Trent’s first-ever build-to-rent apartment scheme, Clayworks, is ensuring that potential residents can still secure their dream homes – thanks to a COVID-19 pivot strategy that has seen it take all its viewings online.
Renters will be guided through the contemporary studio, one and two-bedroom apartments – which are situated in the Smithfield development in Hanley – via video, with one of the Clayworks team on hand to answer any question they might have and help them identify next steps.
The move comes as it was recently revealed that the apartments and the Hilton Garden Inn hotel at the site are on track for a late summer completion in spite of the global pandemic.
Richard Swann, asset manager at LIV Group – the company responsible for leasing and managing the apartments – said: “The coronavirus pandemic has thrown absolutely everything into uncertainty, so it was important to us that we could still give potential residents a flavour for what life at Clayworks will be like – and a sense of security that their move-ins will still be able to go ahead.
“We’re fortunate to have the tech to be able to support this – we’ve been sending out videos of the show apartments to residents for a few months now, and from 15 June, we have been carrying out live video viewings.
“It’s very possible that, looking ahead, we see the residential property industry shift full-time towards remote and tech-driven leasing. Whilst it’s presented a certain set of challenges, COVID-19 has also demonstrated that renters are responding well to this type of marketing, and there could be scope to operate more frequently on this basis and use resource formerly allocated to in-person viewings elsewhere.”
The video showcases the sleek interiors of the apartments, which feature bathroom tiles from local ceramics producer Johnson Tiles and high-spec fitted kitchens. The show apartments have also been loaned a full suite of crockery from Stoke-on-Trent mainstay, Churchill China.
The 11-storey tower of 151 apartments – the first of two – will provide community-focused rental options with many perks, a key feature of build-to-rent developments.
Upon completion in Q3 this year, the scheme will boast a large, welcoming lobby, a postal room, cycle storage, co-working space, bookable event rooms with kitchen spaces, a roof terrace with BBQ facilities, and a private, landscaped courtyard.
It is expected that residents will be able to move in from September.
Richard added: “Clayworks is being built with style and practicality in mind. The apartments have high-quality, modern, and robust finishes, and are also designed with energy efficiency and low running costs in mind.
“We’re confident that they’re unlike anything else currently on the market in Stoke-on-Trent, and we’re targeting the city’s growing young professional population, as well as downsizers. The amenity on offer at the scheme will cater seamlessly to these groups, affording them a community-focused lifestyle which will support their busy lives.”
Cllr Abi Brown, leader of Stoke-on-Trent City Council and Fortior Board chair, said: “We remain extremely excited about the Clayworks city centre living offer, a real first for Stoke-on-Trent. I’m pleased that we’re able to provide state-of-the-art digital viewing alternatives so people can see first-hand what they can expect from the high-end living experience at Clayworks.
“Interest has been high right from the start of the year, and although physical viewings aren’t as easy at the moment, we’re confident that this alternative option gives potential residents a good feel for the apartments – true city centre living at its best.”
Clayworks will feature 43 studio apartments, from £495 pcm; 44 one-bedroom apartments, from £550 pcm; and 64 two-bedroom apartments, from £750pcm. Renters who would like to book a virtual tour or get more information about the development are encouraged to contact the Clayworks team on 01782 948 771, or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
The apartments are being constructed by Willmott Dixon and form part of the wider Smithfield development, which is being delivered by Genr8 Developments in partnership with Stoke-on-Trent City Council.
Fortior Homes, the council’s wholly-owned private housing company, will own and oversee the operations of Clayworks.