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Discussion Starter #1
Gentoo, one of the UK's largest social housing landlords, has announced a new phase in their building plans for a number of key sites across the City of Sunderland.

The main thrust of the new development, made possible by the funding from the government's Kick Start scheme, will see 515 new units constructed at:

Castletown
Southwick
Doxford Park
Chilton Moor
Racecourse Estate, Houghton

An overview of all Gentoo renewal projects is available here.

A local news report about the new developments can be read here.
 

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I heard a few adverts on the Local Radio yesterday about the sale of Houses in Doxford Park, ----I didn't know Gentoo had completed any Houses their?
 
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Did we not privatise the City's entire housing stock to ensure that it could be managed effectively and that provision of future housing requirements could be better met by the private sector?

Gentoo, one of the UK's largest social housing landlords, has announced a new phase in their building plans for a number of key sites across the City of Sunderland.

The main thrust of the new development, made possible by the funding from the government's Kick Start scheme, will see 515 new units constructed at:

Castletown
Southwick
Doxford Park
Chilton Moor
Racecourse Estate, Houghton

An overview of all Gentoo renewal projects is available here.

A local news report about the new developments can be read here.
 

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Does anyone know how many houses have been completed, ---and how many are still being Constructed at the Doxford Park sites,? --cheers.
 

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I hear Gentoo's development in the east of Castletown is on track.

Aye, ---and a couple of other sites are on schedule, as they have been advertising houses for sale at both --Doxford Park, --and Houghton sites --these last couple of weeks.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I found myself in High Southwick earlier this week and was taken aback by the very pelasing progress made with gentoo's newbuild for the Shakespeare Street/Faber Road area. The Grace House hospice is also well on track.

I hear most of the external work in the east of Castletown (250-300 new houses?) is also finished.
 

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I know that this is a 'Project Thread', and is therefore about a specific development (or 'series of' developments) and the below newspaper article is about a wider issue than the one project. However, it is an interesting article about GENTOO, and I couldn't think of a more logical place to put it on this forum, than on this thread!

Remember (as always) to also follow the LINK at the bottom of the post, for the rest of the article . . .


Long-term planning makes Gentoo stand out
September 23rd 2010, by Peter McCusker, The Journal


In the latest of our series taking a closer look at some of the companies who made it into the Journal Top 200 we catch up with Sunderland-based housing company Gentoo. Journal deputy business editor Peter McCusker and Paul Woolston, senior partner of Top 200 sponsors PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) talk to its chief executive, Peter Walls.

LANDLORD and property developer Gentoo is almost 10 years into its current 30-year business plan. Results for the last five years of the plan show revenues rising steadily from £92m to £143m in 2009, but losses for each of the years of anything between £23m and £48m.

The Doxford Park-based not-for-profit business expects to go from the red to the black in the next few years and the books to be balanced by 2020.

This emphasis on long- term planning is one of a number of features which make Gentoo stand out from others in the recent Journal Top 200 list, in which it moved up from 57 in 2009 to 40th this year.

Gentoo, formerly Sunderland Housing, was created in 2001 as a standalone business to manage Sunderland City Council’s housing stock.

Unlike many arms-length management organisations it also took the council’s DLO (direct labour organisation) arm with its 300-strong workforce and this combination has seen Gentoo blaze a trail in the third sector. Gentoo chief executive Peter Walls: “Our first task was to instigate a plan to bring all of the homes we owned up to a good standard.

“This was major change for staff who went from constantly telling people that they couldn’t have this or that done, to saying this is what we are going to do, and this is how we are going to do it.”

To fund the programme and on-going works it borrowed £240m in bonds for 40 years and a £335m loan from a syndicate of banks.

On top of this it also has an additional £135m facility with the European Investment Bank to fund its modernisation and new-build programme.

With 30,000 homes in its portfolio it has a guaranteed income stream from the rents and its property portfolio is valued at over £900m.

Gentoo is ahead of schedule on its regeneration programme and over the years it has diversified in a number of new directions.

Up until three years ago the business was simply known as the Sunderland Housing Group but the unveiling of the Gentoo brand also marked a change in the structure of the business and its ambitions.

Along with the Gentoo group there were created subsidiary brands Gentoo Sunderland, Gentoo Construction, Gentoo Homes and Gentoo Ventures.

These divisions encompass a range of activities with Gentoo Sunderland managing its former council house stock; Gentoo Construction building and maintaining homes across the country; Gentoo Homes builds new homes and Gentoo Ventures acts is a property agents.

Walls is passionate about the Gentoo concept and is currently developing Gentoo Living and Gentoo Green.

Gentoo Living was created in 2007 with the aim of “inspiring and empowering communities”. It has helped 200 individuals launch their own businesses and works with schools and communities.

Gentoo Green is likely to be spun off soon as a stand-alone division and is aiming to capture a share of the renewable energy and energy conservation market. Walls says the key performance indicators in some of its divisions are the same as those in the private sector.

“Construction is expected to trade and make a profit. The Home division is expected to build homes and sell them at a market rate.”

But with its tenanted property arm there is a different dynamic at play, as it has no facility to increase prices with the Government setting rents through legislation.

Walls adds: “We know we have a fixed and continual income.”

Working in partnership with Sunderland City Council Gentoo recently secured £33.5m grant investment from the Homes and Communities Agency under their “Kick Start” initiative, designed to breathe life into stalled housing developments.


REST OF ( TWO PAGE ) ARTICLE, HERE - http://www.nebusiness.co.uk/business-news/latest-business-news/2010/09/23/long-term-planning-makes-gentoo-stand-out-51140-27323074/
 

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^^^^


I didn't know there are so many Gentoo subsidiaries, ----and I didn't realise the Company is so large,----it seems they are heading in the right direction, --so good luck to them, ----and although they have been criticized a few times before, --- I have to say, that I think they are doing a decent job with their Housing and Construction, --so credit where it's due.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Very interesting article, NH, thanks for posting.

I hope to get some pictures up of the High Southwick and Castletown developments when I get time.
 

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More on 'Gentoo' generally . .

Non profit landlord and builder Gentoo into surplus
September 29th 2010, by Karen Dent, The Journal


NOT-for-profit landlord and property developer Gentoo has reported a surplus for the first time since it left local authority control nine years ago to manage Sunderland City Council’s housing stock.

The Wearside company, formerly known as Sunderland Housing, reported a pre-tax and interest surplus of £7.7m, compared to a £4.7m deficit in 2009.

The figure included a £2.2m profit on land sales and from the Right to Buy and Right to Acquire schemes in the year to the end of March, compared to a £300,000 loss in 2009.

Financial director Phil Murray said: “The main reason is this year we have tailed off our stock transfer work. In the first few years there was heavy investment in the stock – £1m a week in 2004/5 – on things like new bathrooms. That’s the main reason for the surplus, which will be maintained.

“We have also made savings in maintenance after bringing five operating subsidiaries into one in 2007. We are now seeing the benefits of the lack of duplication.”

Gentoo, which employs 17,000 people and owns and manages almost 29,500 properties, said turnover rose slightly to £144m from £142.6m. The business also cut its deficit to £17m from almost £30m.

The group is almost 10 years into its 30-year plan and Mr Murray said it was “absolutely” on course to meet its aim of breaking even by 2020. The business, which runs a number of divisions including Homes and Construction, also reduced its net debts to £528.9m from £538.5m the previous year.

“We have managed to retain good funding streams from the bank,” said Mr Murray.


REST OF ( TWO PAGE ) ARTICLE, HERE - http://www.nebusiness.co.uk/business-news/latest-business-news/2010/09/29/non-profit-landlord-and-builder-gentoo-into-surplus-51140-27360422/
 

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I have said on previous posts, ---that I think Gentoo has been doing a decent job, ----although they take a lot of stick, ---I say credit where it's due.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
The St Catherines development at Castletown is, structually, well along and houses are currently up for sale and being offered to Gentoo customers to rent. The second (or is it third?) phase of Leafields at High Southwick is also virtually topped out, though four old houses remain on Shakespeare Street because one family has still refused to move (the other three looking unkempt and derelict). I also understand Beckwith Green at Doxford Park is all but done and dusted.
 

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The St Catherines development at Castletown is, structually, well along and houses are currently up for sale and being offered to Gentoo customers to rent. The second (or is it third?) phase of Leafields at High Southwick is also virtually topped out, though four old houses remain on Shakespeare Street because one family has still refused to move (the other three looking unkempt and derelict). I also understand Beckwith Green at Doxford Park is all but done and dusted.

Heard a while ago that areas at Doxford Park was nearly complete, ---good to see some of these areas coming to fruition, ---btw, ---do you know if Grace House will be built by Gentoo? cheers.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Quite an old news article, but good news for Gentoo and its new residential developments across the city.


Bumper sales for city housing group

The former Sunderland Housing Group defied the downturn to record its most successful month ever in November.

Head of new homes marketing and customer care Jill Haley said: "November has been a fantastic month for us in terms of reservations, surpassing all expectations, especially considering the current situation the housing market is facing.

"Twenty-one new homes were reserved, which is one sale for each day that our marketing suites were open, making it our most successful month ever.

"There are some amazing properties available throughout Sunderland, including our new development Hutton Rise in Houghton and St Catherine’s in Castletown, not forgetting our already popular developments at Leafields in Southwick and Beckwith Grange in Doxford Park".


Full piece: http://www.sunderlandecho.com/news/local/bumper_sales_for_city_housing_group_1_2846558
 

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^^^^

Just got to hope the momentum continues, ---it's going to be hard though, --it's going to be tough for a couple of years at least.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Apparently gentoo is increasing rents 6.1 per cent at the end of next month, so hopefully enough people will be able to afford to live in all these new houses they're building. The group rakes in £2.055million every week from tenants' rents payments.
 
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