Harrison Street sells five student accommodation properties in EUR400m deal

Harrison Street has sold five purpose-built student accommodation properties (PBSA) in Dublin, Ireland, to Global Student Accommodation Group (GSA) for a combined EUR400 million. 

The properties were the first investments under Harrison Street’s and GSA’s Ireland joint venture, which initially committed to invest EUR250 million to address the growing regional demand for high-quality student housing. GSA will continue to manage the properties after the transaction closes on behalf of its investors.

The properties, which comprise 1,971-beds and include Ardcairn House, Kavanagh Court (two phases), New Mill, The Tannery, and Broadstone Hall, primarily serve students at Trinity College Dublin, Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, TU Dublin Grangegorman, and University College Dublin. The portfolio has an average 97 per cent occupancy rate and all properties have been delivered to date, with the exception of Kavanagh Court Phase II, which is expected to be completed in the first half of 2020.
Rob Mathias, Senior Managing Director and Head of International Business for Harrison Street, says: “This portfolio transaction is representative of Harrison Street’s ability to execute on our strategy of developing high-quality PBSA properties with best-in-class partners in top-tier European university markets backed by favourable demographics. GSA has a deep familiarity with these properties, and we are pleased to build on our strong partnership with them as we continue to identify attractive investment opportunities on behalf of our limited partners.” 
Nicholas Porter, Chairman at GSA Group, says: “This transaction underpins GSA’s global growth strategy and our plans for expansion in the region, helping to generate increased opportunity and value for our investors and partners. We are delighted with the progress we have made in Dublin through this joint venture, exceeding our business plan targets and further establishing our reputation as a trusted provider. Dublin is one of the world’s most prestigious destinations for academic excellence with increasing demand for outstanding student accommodation, and the transaction positions GSA to benefit from positive economic and demographic trends in the city. Our expertise as a world-class accommodation provider positions us ideally for further expansion in Ireland, as we continue to provide the market-leading student experience.”
The portfolio is part of Harrison Street’s HSRE European Property Fund I that raised EUR235 million of capital commitments in 2015 and has experienced strong growth. Coupled with the previous realisation of ECLA Paris and projected cash flow distributions between now and closing, Fund I will have returned 106 per cent of called capital to investors. The Ireland portfolio sale demonstrates Harrison Street’s strategy of maximising value for its investors by creating portfolios through single asset acquisitions and development that can be sold as part of a larger portfolio upon stabilisation.