Former England football captain and Manchester Utd Defender Rio Ferdinand presented his new charity, The Legacy Foundation, to delegates at MIPIM last week.
The Foundation, set up with Colliers International and backed by Aviva Investors, aims to regenerate communities including a commitment to put sporting, leisure and educational facilities at the heart of affordable and private housing development. The development activity will be funded by long term private investment.
It already has a 1000 unit scheme in the pipeline with Central Bedfordshire Council which aims to deliver 55% build to rent housing for private tenants. The scheme will use a leaseback model whereby the local authority retains the freehold and grants a 45 year lease to investors. All of the rents will be paid directly to the local authority but the local authority will pay the investors a rent over the lifetime of the lease, providing a return on investment.
This is an innovative funding mechanism and, if successful, will unlock local authority land for development, provide the local authority with income - without having to take on construction risk. The local authority also gets to retain its asset over the long term.
The Department for Communities and Local Government is backing the model. Housing and Planning Minister Brandon Lewis said: "We are looking for innovative schemes. Legacy brings to the table something very different. At its core is that determination to deliver something that doesn't just deliver the housing, but delivers a really cohesive community, with real opportunity for people to have stronger life chances and a better environment in which to live".
Rio Ferdinand has launched the scheme alongside West Ham captain Mark Noble and former West Ham striker Bobby Zamora.