On 2 November, Winvic and developer and operator client Packaged Living attended the Build To Rent Awards in Leicester Square, London, and jointly scooped the Best Build To Rent Development Award – for the South, 100 plus homes category – for The Almere in Milton Keynes city centre. While not at the highest point of the city, The Almere is the tallest building in Milton Keynes.
People and community have been at the heart of The Almere since its conception, from its market strategy and residents’ events to the building’s design and construction. The project was supported by funders Invesco and The Almere is operated by Native.
Winvic commenced construction of The Almere in January 2020 and completed works in May 2022, which is when the first residents were welcomed. The pandemic – which hit three months into construction – shaped changes in the design and home layouts were considerate to homeworking requirements. Co-working spaces were made more prominent and adaptable while the parcel store was made larger. Flexibility of space was crucial in the design and the 148 one-bedroom, 137 two-bedroom and nine three-bedroom quality apartments appeal to all ages and people.
An underground parking provision was also created for 47 vehicles – with five electric charging points – and 294 cycles. Winvic also connected The Almere to the city’s Combined Heat and Power (CHP) energy station, meaning residents use a renewable source of energy for their hot water and heating.
The entertainment spaces, facilities and working areas were carefully designed and constructed for residents to come together and welcome their friends, family and colleagues to a home beyond the walls of their apartments. The 1,160 sq ft open plan area – called Gathering Space – can be booked by residents and the wider community for private events. It leads to an eleventh-floor roof terrace with bookable BBQ area and shared kitchen and on the eighteenth floor there is 3,250 sq ft rooftop terrace. Biodiversity was a significant consideration and the landscaping undertaken by Winvic included over 1,000 trees, shrubs and ornamentals across almost 100 species.
Native’s on-site Community Manager arranges programmes of courses and events including yoga, screenings of large sporting events, table game competitions, children’s craft sessions and cooking lessons. Furthermore, the Almere’s Neighbourhood Heroes work in partnership with Native to provide discounted products and services from local businesses.
Mark Jones, Winvic’s Director of Multi-room, said: “It was an achievement to be shortlisted for Best Build To Rent Development, but there’s nothing like lifting the winner’s trophy. I’d like to thank the whole Winvic team for their hard work and Packaged Living for being a fantastic partner. The pandemic naturally brought challenges for our construction team and design changes were required to ensure the needs of future residents were met. However, our tenacity and collaborative approach ensured we delivered this high-quality residential hub on time, and I think this 2023 Build to Rent Award validates that The Almere is a special project.”
Sophie Gunn, Associated Director at Packaged Living added: “The success of The Almere is a testament to Winvic and everyone involved who worked collaboratively to create a building which we are incredibly proud of. Feedback from residents has been excellent and as a result the building has been voted best place to live in South East England on HomeViews – well done to everyone involved.”