Build-to-rent (BTR) developer and operator Moda has partnered with a ‘digital wellness’ company founded by a former WeWork executive to provide tech-enabled health facilities in its schemes.

Hero Colour Fit

Moda says the tie-up with Hero, which was founded by co-working giant WeWork’s former UK managing director Joe Gaunt, will tackle loneliness and improve the physical and mental wellbeing of its tenants.

So what exactly will this entail? And is it a sign that wellness – already a key consideration for office developers – is set to become a major trend in the residential market too?

Hero will initially take 10,000 sq ft in Moda’s building at Angel Gardens in Manchester, but there are plans to roll it out across the Moda portfolio, which includes sites in Birmingham, Glasgow and Leeds.

The Angel Gardens space will be used as a ‘training hub’ where residents – and members of the public, for a fee – will be able to work out with a personal trainer, take classes and track their sleep, movement, nutrition and mood using 3D body scanning and Hero’s tech platform, which links to wearable devices.

Our aim is to create healthy, social, connected communities that can help alleviate the daily pressures of city living

Johnny Caddick, managing director of Moda.

Renters will have access to nutritionists and wellbeing coaches who work with professional sportspeople, and will also be able to arrange healthy cooking classes and group fitness events through the Hero app. In addition, Hero will provide mental health first-aid training to Moda’s onsite team.

Gaunt hopes that the Moda tie-up will “enhance the experience for those living in city centres and bring all aspects of wellbeing and health right to the fore”. He adds that the tech platform and the fact that each user has a personalised experience based on his or her needs make it different to a more traditional gym.

“Our aim is to create healthy, social, connected communities that can help alleviate the daily pressures of city living,” says Johnny Caddick, managing director of Moda.

Community service

The focus on community is particularly relevant for the BTR market. In April, the Office for National Statistics found that 61% of young renters reported feeling lonely occasionally, often or always, compared to 46% of the general population.

Caddick believes the community aspect of the Hero platform will also be beneficial to residents working from home for all or part of the week – a growing trend that he says most residential developers are not paying enough attention to.

“If you look at the office sector and corporate occupiers, the number-one agenda is to focus on the health and wellbeing of staff. But no one is doing it in resi,” he says. “We already have shared workspaces in our schemes, which means that working from home does not have to be a lonely experience and the partnership with Hero will build on that.”

Caddick hopes the partnership will “galvanise” the existing facilities that are already being built into Moda schemes – such as outdoor spaces and traditional gyms – as well as allow it to track how these spaces are being used and make adjustments based on aggregated data from Hero.

The wellness trend has already been a big hit in the commercial market – if residential tenants prove equally interested then this new partnership can expect healthy returns.