Singapore PE firm swoops for major new student accommodation scheme

A new student accommodation scheme in central Leeds has been sold to Q Investment Partners (QIP), a Singapore-headquartered private equity real estate firm, in a deal worth about £15m.

The 88 studio apartments with associated amenities, are being built at 26-34 Merrion Street.

Work will start this month, and the scheme will be ready for occupation in time for the start of the 2024/25 academic year.

The part five, part seven and part nine-storey building has been designed by Brewster Bye Architects and will be delivered by Urban Developments (York) Ltd for QIP.

This latest transaction forms part of a larger student housing fund managed by QIP and backed by a consortium of institutional investors, launched this year to invest in purpose-built student accommodation (PBSA) projects.

The fund currently manages a c.£150m portfolio that consists of around 1,000 student bedrooms in the UK across student cities – Edinburgh, Nottingham, Sheffield and Greater London.

The Merrion Street property is close to both the University of Leeds and Leeds Beckett University.

It will be operated by Homes for Students, a student accommodation operator with 40,000 PBSA beds nationwide in the UK.

Peter Young, CEO & co-founder QIP, said: “QIP is pleased to be transacting in another PBSA development asset, further expanding our residential living platform in the UK.

“It is a particularly interesting time to be buying and finding value in the specialist UK residential housing sector.

“Without a doubt, the current macro market influences are presenting valued opportunities in PBSA, and we are thrilled to continue to work with one of the leading institutional investors in transacting this opportunity through one of our funds.”

Nick Gould from Urban Developments (York) Ltd, said: “It’s a great site, located right between the city’s universities and key retail areas.

“Brewster Bye’s design meets all of the needs of modern students, and we are looking forward to delivering this much needed, purpose-built student scheme for QIP.”

Urban Developments (York) Ltd was advised by Savills.

Mark Henderson, from Brewster Bye Architects, added: “After designing this scheme and securing planning permission for it earlier this year, it’s fantastic to see work starting on site.

“For a global property fund to invest in the development, at this early stage, speaks volumes about the quality of the scheme and Leeds’s student market as a whole.

“All 88 studios will have en-suites and the new building will also include a lounge, gym, study rooms, a cinema room and laundry facilities for residents. The development will also include a staffed reception area and 23 cycle spaces.”

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