Octopus Real Estate strengthens retirement team appointing Marcus Adam as Development Director

Octopus Real Estate, part of Octopus Group and a leading UK specialist real estate lender and investor, has strengthened its retirement team with the appointment of Marcus Adam as Development Director.

In his role, Marcus is responsible for underwriting, negotiating and coordinating the new developments for the Octopus Real Estate retirement team, as well as having oversight of the marketing of each development. Marcus will also hold positions on joint-venture boards on behalf of Octopus Real Estate.

The Octopus Real Estate retirement team partners with institutional investors, operator senior management and developers of retirement communities, helping to build modern fit-for-purpose retirement housing.

Marcus joins from real estate developer Amro, where he spent two years as Development Director. In the role, he was responsible for the overall direction and delivery of all developments in leading Build to Rent (BtR) and Purpose-Built Student Accommodation (PBSA) projects both in the UK and Europe. Prior to this role, Marcus held various senior management positions in firms within the real estate industry.

Kevin Beirne, Retirement Director at Octopus Real Estate, said: “The retirement housing market suffers from a significant supply-demand imbalance, and demand is being driven by an aspirational growing aging population who increasingly want to downsize and enjoy retirement in high-end accommodation.

“Marcus brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to a team that has positioned itself as a real specialist in the industry. We believe that Marcus will enhance our team’s capabilities to enable us to develop and deliver quality modern homes for UK retirees. “

Marcus Adam, Development Director at Octopus Real Estate, commented: “The work that Octopus Real Estate has been undertaking in the industry has not gone unnoticed. Development projects in the retirement housing market is an undisputable necessity to support an increasingly longer living population. The demand for high-quality, professionally managed and modern developments is clearly there and I am delighted to be joining the team working on a number of market leading projects.”

In 2019 Octopus Real Estate announced that it had formed a joint venture with the real estate arm of Schroders to fund the development of four retirement villages with the Audley Group, the UK’s leading provider of luxury retirement villages.

Octopus Real Estate builds momentum in healthcare development team with three land transactions for care homes

Octopus Real Estate, part of the Octopus Group and a leading investor in healthcare facilities throughout the UK, has completed three development transactions, with two sales and one acquisition.

The disposals come after the Octopus Real Estate development team successfully secured planning permission for the development of two state-of-the-art care homes on sites in Solihull and Ipswich. The land sales allow new specialist operators to take these projects forward and deliver much needed new facilities, while at the same time allowing Octopus Real Estate to crystallise value for investors.

Having secured detailed planning permission to convert Tudor Grange House, a Grade-II* listed stately home in Solihull, into a 64-bedroom care home with 44 assisted living units, Octopus Real Estate has sold the project to care home specialists, Macc Group. Tudor Grange House, which was previously owned by the Bird’s custard family, is set within 5 acres of stunning mature grounds and is close to a number of major retail hubs, Solihull railway station and Solihull hospital. Octopus Real Estate was represented by Carterwood on the Solihull deal.

The second sale was of a site in Ipswich where Octopus Real Estate secured planning permission for a 66-bedroom care home. It was acquired by a partnership between Greensleeves Charitable Trust (the “Trust”) and LNT. The Trust, which will eventually operate the care home, has contracted LNT to develop the project.

Alongside these disposals, Octopus Real Estate has secured planning permission for a new care 60 bedroom care home in Winchester.  The development will replace an existing care home, which was no longer fit-for-purpose and had been rated ‘Poor’ by the Care Quality Commission. Octopus Real Estate will work with Winchester-based charity, Brendoncare, to develop a market-leading facility for the area with modern facilities.

Richard Dooley, Director of Octopus Real Estate’s healthcare development team, said:

“Delivering suitable infrastructure for the UK’s ageing population is central to the Octopus Real Estate healthcare team’s ethos and we are rising to the challenge of providing enough fit-for-purpose real estate to meet this growing demand.”

These latest deals underscore our ability to find new sites and deliver much needed product by securing planning permission to optimise the value of land that’s ripe for development. Our expert team has successfully executed our business plan at the sites in Solihull and Ipswich and therefore made the decision to sell them on to two very capable operators.

 “At Winchester, working with our partner, Brendoncare, we are looking forward to applying our expertise to create a modern, state-of-the-art facility.”

Technology in retirement: The future’s bright

Combine technology, healthcare and the retirement population and you get an interesting conversation. So what happened when Kevin Beirne, Director of Octopus Healthcare’s retirement team and Will Gibbs, of the Octopus Ventures ‘Future of Healthcare’ team met to exchange views on where tech could be taking the retirement industry? Well, let’s listen in as they discuss how the future could look…


Kevin Beirne, Director, Octopus Healthcare

Tech is only interesting to me in a real-world context. Customers need to be able to use it and it needs to fit into the existing healthcare system. That’s when it can be monetised.


Will Gibbs, Investment Manager, Octopus Ventures 

My interest is a bit broader. But the range – from deep tech to things like home urine tests sent through the post – includes your area, Kevin.


Kevin – My focus is the 75+ age group. They’re reasonably active but they’re dealing with long term conditions like diabetes, arthritis and pulmonary disease. These are the big costs to the health system. Stand outside any A&E and you’ll see that the ambulances are bringing in a large proportion of older people whose long-term conditions have gone out of kilter.


Will – Yes, it’s about reducing readmission rates. Two-thirds of GP appointments are follow-ups, not primary visits. These are the ones that could be handled through tech. For example, remote patient monitoring or urine and blood tests done in the home. Hospitals could, one day, be acute settings only.


Kevin – The retirement population face three big questions:

  • how do I stay healthy for longer?
  • how do I manage my increasing frailty?
  • how do I stay independent? (This is often a big one for men particularly).

Applying tech to these questions, the issue becomes one of passive, versus active use. We should be subtracting, not adding to the problem. Fiddly apps aren’t going to cut it. Intelligent hardware is. I recently heard about the ‘intelligent loo’. This does eight tests on your ‘output’ each time you sit on it. (Apparently, Henry VIII’s health was managed in a similar way, but that’s another story). Proteins and blood sugar levels are monitored and conditions like bowel cancer can be picked up very, very early. Put these in your retirement village and you’ve got a very compelling proposition.


Will – Yes, tech in healthcare is about anticipating problems. There’s been a demographic shift, but on top of that is shifting consumer expectation. Users of health services are expecting more, without expecting to pay more. Ask people ‘how much does an X-ray cost?’ and they probably won’t have a clue. Also, the system is skewed: acute care is much more accessible than social care. This means we’re culturally conditioned to want a better service within an existing or lower budget.


Kevin -Simplicity is the way in for tech for older people. Something as simple as “press this button on my phone to tell my family I’m ok every day” or an online shopping site that’s incredibly easy to use is just about harnessing and packaging intelligent tech that is already out there and fronting it with a clear and straight-forward interface.


Will – Identifying problems early, keeping people well, is where a lot of healthcare tech is emerging (companies we’ve invested in like Elvie, Big Health and My Tomorrows). But there’s also a lot happening in pre-op and post-operative care. Myrecovery is an example of a service that tracks your patient journey, cutting out the need for unnecessary follow-up hospital visits.


Kevin – This is the kind of tech that can be brought into retirement living. Tracking a person’s movement patterns around their living space via light switches, the kettle, the fridge, as well as sensors and pressure pads can transform the rhythm and efficiency of care. A nurse or carer doesn’t need to mechanically visit ‘well’ residents, so attention goes to where it’s needed much more efficiently. These systems aren’t that sophisticated as yet, but the potential’s there.


Will – The most tech-savvy (the young) are the least needy when it comes to Healthtech. So systems that don’t require older people to learn new behaviours are preferable. That will change as younger, tech-fluent generations age, but that’s a way off. The macro trend is towards people taking responsibility for their health. (Daily probiotics or multivitamins are a very weak example of that). But the consumerisation of health, wanting to understand my own personal risk profile, is the direction of travel. That’s with the younger end of the population of course.


Kevin – Yes, but by 2035, about 25% of the UK will be over 65. In the same way that people are buying cars based more on the console in the middle of the dashboard, rather than the drive itself, retirement villages will be weighed up against the tech – the useful, proven tech – they contain.


Will – We should mention the NHS. My colleague Gian made a good point in a recent blog that the NHS – healthcare in general – is necessarily cautious. The entrepreneur’s usual credo of ‘fail fast’ can’t apply here – the stakes are too high. I’m guessing the retirement living space is similar.


Kevin – The appetite’s there, but we need to understand how we incorporate tech into our core processes and offerings, at the consumer level, the retirement community or at NHS level. Right now we’re still trying to tack tech onto an analogue system. Exactly where does the transition happen? That’s still being worked out.


Will – The appetite for risk is necessarily low and costs of development are still high in healthcare. So no one would implement a lot of tech innovations for ROI savings today. But as things become more commoditised and mainstream, costs will come down as will the risk profile. To your point about analogue/digital, new tech will be implemented more easily.


Kevin – In the meantime there’s very little standardisation. I recently opened a care home that was operating six different platforms. The critical path to getting the place open was in getting the tech to work! It’s a splintered market out there.


Will – As for entrepreneurs, retirement healthcare tech is not on the list of sexy markets. Not for first-time founders at least. The more seasoned, serial entrepreneurs have more of an eye out for macro trends, where the markets are larger – healthcare in old age, of course, being one of them. But there aren’t many out there. Nourish is one of them. We’re seeing more, but it’s still slow.


Kevin – The government’s healthcare fund – Health X – is just sitting there waiting…


Will – The raw tech talent is best in the UK. Particularly in artificial intelligence (AI) and Deeptech. The presence of the NHS in some ways makes it harder for startups to emerge: there’s a cost aversion based on how we’ve been culturally immersed. But despite the difficulties with trying to spin up private solutions, the talent and capital are definitely here.


Kevin – Absolutely. The business case for tech in retirement healthcare does stack up.


Octopus Healthcare completes record £60+ million deal with New Care, advised by Knight Frank

Octopus Healthcare signs multi-asset deal with New Care to bring a brighter tomorrow to care home provision in the Midlands and North West.

Octopus Healthcare has completed a record deal valued at over £60 million with New Care, part of McGoff Group, to acquire four new care homes incorporating c.300 future-proofed beds across the Midlands and North West regions. The value of the deal breaks the previous record for the growing Octopus Healthcare Fund and signals the move towards long-term partnerships being the model of choice for future investment in care homes. New Care were supported in completing the deal using expertise from the Knight Frank Healthcare advisory team.

Two assets in Nottingham and in Chester will immediately be leased to New Care who will continue as the operator. A further two properties located in Formby and Bramhall will be acquired by the Octopus Healthcare Fund at practical completion. The Formby development will be completed in Spring 2019, with Bramhall being delivered towards the end of 2019, both developments being delivered by McGoff Construction.

The properties have been developed to the highest standards of care home design and construction, with exceptional levels of fit-out that represent boutique hotel styling with carefully chosen interiors. The care homes will change the face of elderly care in their markets. 

Freddie Richards, Investment Director at Octopus Healthcare, said: “The Octopus Healthcare Fund has had a busy twelve months, having committed £198m into UK care homes since the fund was set up a year ago. This latest deal is particularly exciting as it demonstrates our partnership investment strategy in full swing. New Care’s experience in both care home development and care delivery is enviable and they are very straightforward to work with; they’re our kind of people. We want to invest in exceptional healthcare facilities, like these, that we would choose for our loved ones. For us it’s a very personal commitment.”

Julian Evans, Head of Healthcare at Knight Frank, said: “New Care are the rising stars of the UK care home arena, operating exceptionally high-quality assets. Their partnership with Octopus Healthcare provides the perfect platform to enable further growth.” 

Dominic Kay, Chairman of New Care, said: “What makes New Care so unique is our excellent relationship with McGoff Construction, as this allows us to design and build bespoke care facilities that feature the very best specification and interior design and offer exceptional care services.  In a similar way, we have established strong working relationships with both Knight Frank and Octopus Healthcare, both of which are commercial, pragmatic and a pleasure to deal with.”

The UK is currently suffering a care crisis as care homes continue to close due to the continued impact of the National Living Wage on an already constrained labour market and ongoing staffing challenges including an acute shortage of qualified nurses. In addition, many buildings are not fit for purpose and there is insufficient funding available for the refurbishment of existing care homes. Combined with building material inflation costs this has served to restrain new care home development.

Knight Frank predicts that the UK requires in excess of £15 billion to upgrade existing beds in order to future-proof the industry, and that approximately 6,500 care homes are at risk of closure over the next 5 years, which equates to 140,000 beds.

Octopus Healthcare to fund care home development in York for growing care home portfolio

Octopus Healthcare is delighted to announce the completion of a new deal to fund the construction of a 64 bedroom care home in Fulford, York. Using in-house development expertise, Octopus Healthcare secured the land and planning permission for the £11m care home development, which will be forward funded by the Octopus Healthcare Fund.

Award-winning McGoff Construction will deliver the development for Barchester Healthcare to lease and operate at completion. The state-of-the-art care home will replace an old facility at Fordlands, York, and the McGoff team have worked closely with Octopus Healthcare, Barchester and the City of York to design a suitable scheme that is sympathetic with the surrounding areas.

Barchester understand and support Octopus Healthcare’s mission of creating exceptional care homes that you would choose for your loved ones. Barchester run over 200 care homes across the UK and have more than 25 years’ experience in the sector, where they have demonstrated their commitment to consistent and quality care.

Declan McGoff, Operations Director at McGoff Construction, comments: “We are once again delighted to be working with Octopus Healthcare and Barchester to deliver a stunning, state-of-the-art 64 bedroom care home in Fulford. We are already working on similar projects for Octopus and Barchester in Melbourn, Cambridgeshire and for Barchester in Eastbourne and Denmead with others to follow in the coming months, so to add York to the portfolio is great news. We find both organisations very professional and a pleasure to deal with.”

Octopus Healthcare are confident that the partnership with Barchester will create a beautiful space for those in need of support and care. The 64 bedroom care home will be arranged over three floors, and built to traditional construction methods by McGoff Construction on piled foundations with a part basement for plant. The eternal façade has been specifically designed to reflect York’s architectural heritage, incorporating red facings, timber cladding, timber window and doors as well as slate-style roof coverings. The building will be aesthetically attractive with a carefully considered, practical and spacious internal layout.

Richard Dooley, Development Director at Octopus Healthcare, said “This genuinely was a team effort in obtaining the planning permission for the development. We worked closely with the local authority and local community to design a much needed facility for the local area. Our professional team worked diligently to really make sure that we are creating a great future for the health population of Fulford. This is a great example of how we can add value to our operator partnerships securing sites and planning.”

“We are delighted with this acquisition for Octopus Healthcare Fund,” says Freddie Richards, Investment Director at Octopus Healthcare. “We carefully select our partners to make sure we’re teamed up with operators and developers who truly understand what best in class elderly care looks like. Both Barchester Healthcare and McGoff Construction have an enviable track record in the sector and needless to say we are delighted to be partnered with them here.”




Wadswick Green gets a CIEEM ecological thumbs-up

We are delighted that our retirement village, Wadswick Green, has been recognised in this year’s Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management (CIEEM) Best Practice Awards, within the large-scale mitigation and/or enhancement project field.

Wadswick Green Continuing Care Retirement Community is a purpose-built village in the stunning Wiltshire Countryside, providing high quality living to those over 60.

Alongside the construction and development of the retirement village, we worked with Applied Ecology Ltd (AEL) in order to deal with a rather unusual problem. It was discovered that the most significant ecological constraint was the presence of roosting horseshoe bats that were making use of the site’s abandoned buildings.

To ensure the safe preservation of the bats and biodiversity of the site, brick-built bat houses were constructed, alongside the installation of two wildlife ponds and the planting of new woodland and meadow grassland. The approach was successful in sustaining and enhancing the site’s bat population, without impacting the construction and operation of the development.

At the awards, Wadswick Green was recognised as ‘Highly Commended’ in the nominated field, a fantastic outcome for all those involved.

Take a look at our portfolio for more retirement village projects.



The NHS Celebrates Its 70th Birthday

2018 is a huge year for the NHS, as our beloved health service celebrates its 70th birthday! Where would we be if it wasn’t for our life-saving doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals? The NHS sits at the heart of the UK, which is why we’re going all out and want to shout from the rooftops about the NHS’ great work. From the bottom of our hearts, thank you, and happy birthday.

NHS 70


It’s great to see how developments in healthcare and wellbeing have changed the way we live our lives. Over the years the NHS has saved countless lives and this wouldn’t have been possible without the dedication and compassion of NHS staff. Over 1.5 million healthcare professionals work for the NHS, from midwives who deliver miracles into the world, to surgeons who help us in our worst moments, we owe everyone a great big thank you for their hard work.

Cheers to many more NHS celebrations.

Kevin Beirne Joins Octopus Healthcare from One Housing

Octopus Healthcare, part of the Octopus Group, is pleased to announce the appointment of Kevin Beirne as Director of Retirement, joining the business from leading housing association One Housing.

With over 15 years’ experience in developing and managing specialist housing for the elderly and vulnerable, Kevin was a Group Director for One Housing where he oversaw the successful launch of the Season and Baycroft older people’s housing brands.

Kevin joins Octopus Healthcare to the newly created role, heading up the existing retirement team, as the business accelerates its retirement investment and development activity.

Mike Adams, CEO at Octopus Healthcare comments: “We are excited to welcome Kevin to Octopus Healthcare.  His experience and commitment to the sector will be invaluable and will enhance our senior management team as we look to rapidly increase our investment into the UK retirement accommodation sector.”

At One Housing, Kevin led on a number of revolutionary development and sector initiatives, including working with the Smith Institute to launch the influential think tank report: ‘Housing associations and the NHS: new thinking, new partnerships,’ which proposed that better integration of services should be led by using parts of NHS land for senior living and complex supported housing for people with long term conditions.

Kevin Beirne says: “We know from experience that when services for the elderly and vulnerable are integrated in the early design stages of a development, then the care providers – NHS or private – will have the right foundations to deliver better care, lifestyles and choices to residents. This process was fundamental to my work at One Housing and it dovetails perfectly with the ambition and values of Octopus Healthcare. This new role at Octopus Healthcare offers me great opportunities to use all my experience in a positive way.”

Richard Hill, Group Chief Executive at One Housing, said: “I want to thank Kevin for his many years of great work to secure One Housing’s position as the sector leader in housing and health. We are determined to build on this success and continue our track record of innovation, which brings huge benefits for the patients and the NHS.”

Kevin is a Director of ARCO (Associated Retirement Community Operators) and is a member of the NHF’s Delivering Great Homes Group. He was also a member of the Home and Communities Agency Board Advisory Panel for Vulnerable and Older People to 2013.

Plans formally submitted for Northern Ireland’s most innovative health & wellbeing park

Plans to create one of the most innovative and exciting health and wellbeing parks in Northern Ireland have moved one step closer after plans were formally submitted to Belfast City Council.

The King’s Hall Health and Wellbeing Park will be a flagship development in integrated healthcare, setting a new market standard not just in Northern Ireland but across the UK.

The ambitious development will include a next generation GP care facility combining GP services along with the potential for onsite diagnostics including X-ray, ultrasound and near patient care for over 25,000 patients. Discussions are also underway to ensure the facility is equipped to support the training of doctors and nurses; this, alongside new and exciting options for the over 55-plus who want to take control of their senior years, make this a truly unique development.

The site will also deliver much needed options for elderly living including a nursing home, independent living one and two bedroom apartments, bespoke homes for the over-55s as well as retail space, a hotel and a gym facility accessible to residents.

Developers behind this scheme, Benmore Octopus, believe the King’s Hall Health and Wellbeing Park will set a new standard for integrated health care provision in line with the Bengoa Report which had been launched as part of former Health Minister Michelle O’Neill’s vision for healthcare reform in Northern Ireland.

Commenting on the scheme, David Burrows of Benmore Octopus said: “The King’s Hall Health and Wellbeing Park is one of the most exciting projects we have been involved in. It will create next generation GP care services for the growing population of South Belfast as well as delivering a range of onsite diagnostic facilities alongside housing options for the over 55-plus.

“We believe the King’s Hall Health and Wellbeing Park will be a beacon of excellence and a standard bearer for integrated healthcare provision in the city and Northern Ireland going forward. We are confident that the integrated approach we have developed has the potential to reduce healthcare inequalities and deliver better health outcomes for everyone in the local community.”

He added: “Our decision to formally submit plans comes after months of working closely with Belfast City Council, consultees across the health and social care sector including the Health and Social Care Board and local residents. The plan and design we have now submitted reflects the highly collaborative and engaging process we undertook during the pre-application period. We believe this development is something truly special and unique which will have a lasting impact on people’s lives and health in this city.”

The completed development will provide employment for over 500 staff and will have a significant and lasting economic and social impact on the city. Benmore Octopus hope to commence the development in 2018.

Outstanding primary care provision for the people of Pudsey

Robin Lane Health and Wellbeing Centre in Pudsey had been operating from their building since 1997 and as a successful and expanding practice they wanted to support the NHS 5 Year Forward View. The centre was acquired by the MedicX Fund in 2012 and required the premises to be refurbished and extended to support patient demand and their goal of providing more primary care services in the community.

“Our vision has always been to offer the highest quality primary healthcare to our patients here in Pudsey, and to enable them to live longer and healthier lives. We know that this can only be achieved by taking a proactive approach to healthcare services in the local community, focused on preventative solutions as well as treatments.” Mev Forbes, Managing Partner at Robin Lane Health and Wellbeing Centre

The challenge

Over the last five years Robin Lane Health and Wellbeing Centre has seen patient numbers grow from 8,500 to over 13,500, and this popular centre receives many new registrations every day. With a vision to provide more urgent care in the community, as well as building on a philosophy of proactive personal care planning, it was clear that the premises needed re-development to meet demand.

The Centre is more than a GP practice, it is a centre for proactively promoting health and wellbeing in the local community, and was recently awarded ‘Outstanding’ by the Care Quality Commission. Pudsey’s strategic plan is focused on bringing healthcare services closer to home for patients. Improved facilities including a minor operations suite were needed to enable the primary care partnership to deliver on this plan.

The solution

Octopus Healthcare agreed an extensive re-development project to create eleven new clinical rooms, two treatment rooms and to reconfigure and update the reception areas. This involved a 167m2 extension to the premises, as well as refurbishment of existing areas.

The property and asset management team at Octopus Healthcare worked with the management team at Robin Lane Health and Wellbeing Centre to support the planning and development process. The goal was to future proof the practice, enabling it to absorb the predicted increases in patient numbers and provide excellent primary care provision in the community.

Phase II of this project is now complete and the primary care partnership at Robin Lane Health and Wellbeing Centre have been granted a new 25 year lease on the GP practice and pharmacy.

The result

Octopus Healthcare employed a project manager and project monitoring surveyor to oversee the entire project and ensure that the re-development was delivered on schedule. They also worked closely with the tenants to ensure that building works which took place over a 12 month period did not impact adversely on patients and clinical staff.

During the build process the practice asked for the addition of an Endoscopy Suite using clinical space previously allocated for other uses. Octopus Healthcare prides itself on delivering well-planned and well-executed projects, and Robin Lane Heath and Wellbeing Centre was no exception.

“We are delighted to be able to support the primary care partnership at Robin Lane Health and Wellbeing Centre in their goals to increase healthcare provision in the community of Pudsey, and to deliver the facilities that patients and clinical staff deserve. Pudsey is a fantastic example of what outstanding primary care looks like, and Octopus Healthcare are proud to be part of that vision.” James Young, Head of Property and Asset Management at Octopus Healthcare


For more details, visit MedicX Fund.