Curlew Capital and CBRE Global Multi Manager (CBRE GMM) have launched the Curlew Student Trust (CST), a vehicle created to invest in UK student accommodation.
CST has been established as a result of investment by UK and global clients of CBRE GMM alongside Curlew and key stakeholders. CBRE GMM has initially committed GBP40.0m to the venture.
CST will be managed by Curlew Capital, led by Paul Oliver, former joint CEO of Teesland plc. Operational and property management will be provided by Fresh Student Living (FSL), led by Rebecca Hopewell.
CST will invest in prime purpose built student accommodation (PBSA) throughout the UK. The acquisition strategy is focused on the top 50 / Russell Group universities and supplemented by investment opportunities where Curlew identifies strong sustainable returns. CST will target superior returns by forward-funding new developments in locations in high demand from students and through utilising FSL’s skilled managers to help deliver strong income returns.
CST has a target size of GBP250m and will use the initial equity commitments to acquire a GBP63m seed portfolio, comprising 1,091 beds in three schemes currently being developed by Watkin Jones Group, a developer of purpose built student accommodation in the UK. The assets are situated in Sheffield, Swansea, and Birmingham. The schemes in Sheffield and Swansea are due for delivery in time for the 2014-15 academic year while the Birmingham scheme will welcome students in 2015-16. The assets will provide a mixture of cluster and studio bedrooms of the highest specification and will be well situated for student life in the three cities.
Oliver says: “The launch of the Curlew Student Trust, demonstrates the demand from institutional investors for a value-add approach to investing in this thriving ‘alternative’ investment sector. We are excited by the quality of the specialist team we have assembled, providing investors with access to individuals with a superior track record in the investment, development and operational management of PBSA assets, across the UK.”
Alex Bignell, head of UK at CBRE Global Multi-Manager, says: “Curlew Student Trust is a further demonstration of our successful new approach of forming ventures with specialist managers to enable our clients to access preferred niches of the UK property market. We look forward to supporting the future growth of the venture.”