Empiric acquires five student accommodation assets

Empiric Student Property has acquired the freeholds of five operating properties, one in Exeter, two in Leicester and two in Portsmouth, with a total of 464 beds, for an aggregate cash consideration of GBP26.69 million (excluding acquisition costs).

The freeholds were acquired from assets managed by LaSalle Investment Management.
 
All the properties were fully let for the 2015/16 academic year and are 100 per cent pre-let for the 2016/17 academic year. The operations are currently managed by Campbell Property which will continue to manage the properties on behalf of the group before operations are integrated onto the Hello Student operating platform.
 
Bishop Blackall School, Exeter was converted in 2011 from an Edwardian school and headmaster’s house into a direct-let student accommodation property with 113 beds across a mix of two to eight bedroom apartments, each of which has its own kitchen and living area. The property is a 10 minute walk to the University of Exeter campus and seven minutes from the city centre. It is within easy reach of Empiric’s six other properties in the city, facilitating operational economies of scale.
 
The Hosiery Factory, Leicester, which was converted in 2015, is a direct-let student accommodation property with 107 beds across a mix of three to nine bedroom apartments, each of which has its own kitchen and living area. 
 
The Shoe and Boot Factory, Leicester is a direct-let student accommodation property with 173 beds across a mix of four to eight bedroom apartments, each of which has its own kitchen and living area. The building was converted from the original factory in 2013 and retains many of the original features. Two new build structures have created a courtyard amenity space.
 
The properties, which are located opposite each other, are well situated in the city centre, a three minute walk to De Montford University and a 15 minute walk to the University of Leicester, and within easy reach of Empiric’s other five properties in the city, facilitating operational economies of scale.
 
Elm Grove Library, Portsmouth, which was converted from a former library building in 2012, is a direct-let student accommodation property with 19 beds across a mix of three to five bedroom apartments, each of which has its own kitchen and living area. 
 
Kingsway House, Portsmouth is a direct-let student accommodation property with 52 beds across a mix of three, four, seven and eight bedroom apartments, each of which has its own kitchen and living area. The building was converted from a former NHS office building in 2014 and has been redesigned to create a central living area, with the original concrete cladding having been replaced with a more modern façade.
 
The properties, which are located opposite each other, are situated in the student hub in Southsea, a 15 minute walk to the University of Portsmouth and a 20 minute walk to the Gunwharf Quays shopping centre.
 
Paul Hadaway, chief executive of Empiric Student Property, says: “The acquisition of this portfolio increases our presence in Exeter to approximately 595 beds across seven properties, in Leicester to 560 beds across seven properties and in Portsmouth to 354 across four properties. The purchase of small, complementary portfolios of properties enables us to deploy the group’s capital in a more cost efficient manner, the benefit of which accrues to our shareholders. This acquisition is in line with Empiric's investment criteria and returns profile.”

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