React News talks to Raj Kotecha

August 30th, 2022

Influencing tenant behaviour is the “holy grail” of green development


Amro Partners co-founder and MD Raj Kotecha caught up with React News to discuss our European expansion plans, the market outlook and the role of technology in our progress towards NZC2025.


Raj highlighted the significant shortfall of student beds in key markets including the Netherlands – in the region of 50,000 to 60,000 based on current student numbers – as a result of more courses being taught in English and international students shying away from the UK post-Brexit due to higher tuition fees. From a supply-demand shortfall perspective, the opportunity is extremely strong.


“Construction costs and inflation are creating a challenge in terms of viability, but we’re seeing some flattening in construction costs in the UK and Spain compared to six or eight weeks ago and rents are increasing too, so it’s a case of seeing where things settle”, he said. “On the UK Build to Rent side too, the supply-demand imbalance is propelling the market forward. Rents are growing, occupancy in completed schemes is very high and we’re seeing strong tenant demand for a professionally managed product.”


Focusing on Amro’s strategy for The Rex in Kingston, Raj explained how smaller-volume sites which are very well-connected from a transport perspective can lend themselves well to a micro-living play. Amro transitioned from what was going to be a new build scheme with the knockdown of an existing building to retaining, repurposing and expanding it. For that reason, it’s going to be a market-leading project from an embodied carbon perspective and the first multi-residential BREEAM Outstanding project in the UK.


Discussing Amro’s progress towards our Net Zero 2025 goal, the recent appointment of a director of sustainability, Elisabetta Li Destri Nicosia, will help take Amro from what we consider to be the Europe market-leading position in the projects we’re undertaking, to start pioneering some of our own initiatives.


Raj explained, “We want to develop the data and the tech to demonstrate how completed properties are actually performing. The next step will be to influence the behaviour of tenants, whether those are students in the European markets or build to rent tenants here in the UK. We see that then as a virtuous circle that improves and continues to improve over the whole life of the building. That’s really the holy grail, we think. We’re well-positioned to capture that, or innovate in that area, because we’re a vertically integrated developer-operator with a really good vision from a tech perspective. I think those components allow us to innovate very rapidly within that space.”


Read the full interview on React News.