Student accommodation group reveals £40m development for Birmingham

How the Bath Court development will look

A new student accommodation partnership has revealed that its first project will be a £40m development in Birmingham.

Harrison Street Real Estate Capital is one of the largest owners of student housing in the United States and Europe.

It has signed a partnership agreement with Uliving, the student accommodation developer and operator, to invest in purpose-built student accommodation properties across the UK.

The new development will be built on the site of Bath Court on Bath Row, which is within the catchment area for students at University College Birmingham, Birmingham City University and University of Birmingham campuses.

It will include 435 student bedrooms and extensive facilities including a large, street-facing gym; an open-plan common room area with seating, games and television screens; two study rooms; a launderette; a dance studio; and a landscaped roof terrace.

Construction will begin in April 2018, with the first students set to move in for the 2020/2021 academic year.

So far as the new partnership is concerned, UBS Asset Management is providing senior debt funding through its real estate debt fund, the UBS Participating Real Estate Mortgage Fund (UBS-PREMF), while Harrison Street is the majority equity investor.

The development in Birmingham will be Uliving’s first off-campus, direct-let project.

Uliving, which is the dedicated student accommodation brand of property development company Linkcity, is also providing equity for the partnership and will serve as developer and operator.

Uliving’s partners Bouygues Energies & Services and Bouygues UK will provide facilities management and construction services.

Eastdil Secured acted as financial adviser and Trowers & Hamlins was legal adviser to the joint venture.

DLA Piper was legal adviser to Harrison Street Real Estate Capital and CMS Cameron McKenna Nabarro Olswang was legal adviser to UBS Asset Management.

Daniel Gorzawski, managing director and Head of Europe at Harrison Street, said: “Partnering with best-in-class operators to invest in high-quality student accommodation projects is a key element of our strategy. This is a first-rate scheme in an excellent location and we look forward to a successful, long-term relationship with Uliving and UBS.”

Nicolas Guérin, Uliving’s executive chairman, said: “Having partnered with universities to create exceptional student accommodation schemes in Essex, Hertfordshire and Gloucestershire, it is exciting to have reached financial close on this project, which signals the start of our joint venture with Harrison Street and sees us developing our first off-campus, direct-let scheme.

“With its five universities and over 65,000 higher education students, Birmingham is an increasingly attractive destination and the ideal location for this evolution in our product offering.”

Fabienne Viala, UK Country Director for Bouygues Construction and chairman of Bouygues UK, said: “Reaching financial close on this significant scheme highlights our collaborative approach. As well as marking the beginning of a new relationship for Uliving with Harrison Street, it also brings together the diverse capabilities of Bouygues Construction in the UK, with Uliving, Bouygues UK and Bouygues Energies & Services all working together to bring this project to fruition and manage it over the long term.”