Catella Residential IM seals EUR51m in student housing and residential deals under German pension mandate

Berlin-based Catella Residential Investment Management (CRIM) has acquired student housing and general residential developments in Bielefeld and Bad Homburg in Germany for a total of EUR51 million, under a mandate for a southern German pension fund. 

CRIM’s investments for the client in this German ‘Spezialfonds’ institutional fund structure have now reached close to EUR700 million invested in four European countries.

The development in Bielefeld, in the northeast of the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, offers affordable student housing in the immediate vicinity of the town’s growing university. The Bad Homburg scheme is being built in this residential suburb to the north of Frankfurt, where a large number of medium-sized companies are headquartered. Frankfurt’s expanding business and financial sectors are generating strong demand for high-quality apartments in the city’s environs.
Matthias Bursi, CRIM Fund Manager, says: “These two acquisitions fit perfectly into our strategy to acquire affordable residential units in inner-city and suburban areas in key growth centres across Germany. Bielefeld and Bad Homburg are both located in two of the most dynamic economic regions in Germany. Thanks to Catella’s strong local network and the breadth of our residential platform, we are able to find attractive opportunities in regional locations like these deals that meet the targeted returns of our mandates.”
The 7,388 sq m ‘Campus Westend’ student residence in Bielefeld will, upon completion, offer modern apartments with 250 beds in the immediate vicinity of the local university and technical college by the 2022 summer semester. There is strong demand for student housing in Bielefeld, where almost 40,000 of the city’s 340,000 residents study at academic institutions. The scheme is part of a new district in Bielefeld-Schildesche which comprises over 300 rental and owner-occupied apartments as well as student apartments and facilities including a kindergarten and infrastructure such as a new local railway line which connects the campus with the city centre. The vendors are a joint venture between the Bautra Group and Borchard-Bau, two local players who are also predominantly responsible for the overall development of the area.
The 3,575 sq m scheme in Bad Homburg is located in the immediate vicinity of the town centre and will offer 37 high-quality apartments and two ground-floor retail units. Construction of the project, providing a mix of two- to four-room apartments, is scheduled to begin this month (June). The development was acquired from Galic Immobilien, an owner-manager and locally active property developer based in Bad Soden.
In addition to the two new developments, CRIM has transferred a student residence in Graz, Austria, on behalf of the same institutional investor mandate. Acquired in 2019 for €19 million, the asset comprises 199 rooms over a surface area of 5,184 sqm. With its 290,000 habitants, Graz is the second largest city in Austria and one of the most important academic centres in the country with a student population of 50,000.
Michael Keune, Managing Director at CRIM, says: “We have not previously had a presence in Graz, our second investment location in Austria after Vienna. All three acquisitions under this German institutional mandate fall within Catella’s core strategy of expanding our investments across leading regional cities in Europe.”