New Harrison Street and CA Ventures JV to acquire and develop purpose-built, student accommodation in the UK

Harrison Street and CA Ventures (CA) have formed a new joint venture (JV) partnership to develop and acquire purpose built student accommodation (PBSA) assets across the United Kingdom.

The JV also announced its first four PBSA development projects, totalling 935 total beds located in London, Edinburgh, Leicester and Belfast. Each property offers units with bed-bath parity and top of the line amenities including fitness centres, cinema rooms, outdoor courtyards, game rooms and study lounges.  All four assets will be managed by CA’s in-house PBSA operating platform, Novel Student.
 
“This JV is a testament to Harrison Street’s long-term conviction in the European student accommodation sector,” says Paul Bashir, Chief Executive Officer of Harrison Street’s European business. “We are excited to expand our presence in top-tier university cities in the UK, with each having growing student populations in need of high-quality PBSA that cater to their wellbeing.  CA is a strong partner, with whom Harrison Street has worked with for over a dozen years in the United States, that boasts significant expertise operating student housing properties globally. We are excited to expand our partnership with them as we continue our approach of investing in strong PBSA assets in attractive UK university markets.”
 
The initial portfolio is comprised of the following:
 
Hackney Wick in London, a 330-bed property ideally located in one of the largest and most attractive student markets in the world.  The project is a short walk from multiple university campuses and is located in a growing student hub in London featuring numerous amenities, multiple transit and shopping options, cultural/nightlife attractions, and London’s premier tech innovation hub, Here East.

Stanley Place in Edinburgh is a 102-bed, 3-story building conveniently located for students attending the University of Edinburgh and close to grocery stores, retail, Holyrood Park, restaurants, and entertainment, including the Easter Road football stadium (Hibernian Premiership club) and concert venue.

Conduit Street in Leicester will offer 250 beds and easy access to the University of Leicester and De Montfort University. The local area provides numerous convenient amenities for students, including restaurants and cafés, shops, Victoria Park, and the Welford Road and King Power Stadiums.

Botanic Avenue in Belfast is comprised of 253 beds and is conveniently located for students, immediately adjacent to Queen’s University in the southern area of Belfast’s vibrant city centre. The property is located a short walk from the Botanic Train Station, which services much of the Belfast city, as well as restaurants, entertainment, and activity centres, many of which are designed to cater to the lifestyle of university students.
 
“We are thrilled to be partnering with Harrison Street, a long-time trusted investment partner, to deliver these exciting new PBSA schemes,” says Carlo Matta, head of Europe at CA. “Despite the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic, the student accommodation sector has continued to demonstrate its recession-resistant qualities and outperform other commercial real estate asset classes. Our JV with Harrison Street is a great example of the momentum we are currently experiencing in the student sector, globally. There is clear demand for the products and services that CA specialises in and we believe in the investment opportunity now more than ever.”
 
Earlier this year, CA launched its PBSA property management platform, Novel Student, to operate its new development portfolio in the UK and Europe. The brand was thoughtfully designed to reflect the needs and preferences of Generation Z students – prioritizing the “live, work, play” model, as well as integrated wellness. With the addition of the JV’s newly announced assets, Novel’s portfolio will include more than 2,500 beds under management across the UK and Europe. CA currently has 897 beds under construction in Glasgow, Edinburgh and Sheffield, all of which delivering in time for the 2021-22 academic year.
 
Harrison Street has invested over EUR2.7 billion across 46 assets throughout Europe, including over 13,400 student accommodation beds, 2,070 residential units and 1.7 million square feet of life sciences space.

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