The combination of historic underinvestment and a marked expansion in the number of students both domestically and internationally coming to study in the UK has attracted Sovereign Wealth Funds, institutional investors and private equity funds battling for portfolios and development investment opportunities within the student accommodation market.
The accommodation development market shows no signs of abating and in the post-referendum climate it would be a reckless government that did anything further to jeopardise a catalyst for economic growth, regeneration and inward funds flowing into the country.
Our Housing group has advised on some of the biggest and most innovative deals in the last few years.
We act for Universities, developers and investors in the sector and are therefore ideally and uniquely placed to help navigate the pressure points in negotiations, including:
- Liquidated damages – if your development misses its PC date there will be a narrow window before potentially an entire Academic Year of income is lost.
- Enfranchisement of direct let schemes.
- VAT – ensuring the right rating for your construction, particularly if non-residential use is included and summer trade is planned.
- Nominations rights compared with leasehold interests.
- Tax structuring – onshore and offshore.
- Innovative funding structures – student accommodation has led the way recently, with income strips and bond finance becoming more prevalent, with associated vires issues. Our Real Estate team have advised on both development and investment deals in the sector so are well-placed to give the all-round view and introductions to potential funders, as required.
- Party wall awards and rights to light given the trend towards designing and adapting tower blocks for student accommodation projects.
Our Student Accommodation clients include:
- Alumno Student Developments
- Close Brothers Limited
- Crosslane Student Accommodation Limited
- Hudson Advisers
- Liverpool John Moores University
- Moorfield Group
- Queen Margaret University
- Swansea University
- Victus European Student Accommodation IC Fund
- Watkin Jones Group
Recent Student Accommodation experience includes:
- Acting on the redevelopment of Swansea University's new Bay campus, a development which includes 2,000 residential units delivered on an income strip structure and related Nominations Agreements.
- Acting for the developer on the construction of a new International College, liaising with the University and pathway international course provider as well as securing forward funding from a major UK Pension Annuity provider, constructing 400 units.
- Acting for Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh in a partnership arrangement for the development of a new 800 bed student residence village in partnership with Sanctuary Housing Association.
- Acting on all property matters for Liverpool John Moores University including all recent major redevelopment projects across their campus and student accommodations agreements with third party providers.
- Advising student accommodation developers on a large number of schemes throughout the UK including a 450 bed development in Stratford, a 250 bed scheme in Norwich and a 450 unit project in Durham.
- Providing full construction services to a specialist student accommodation national developer in relation to developments across the UK, including preparing two-stage building contracts, professional appointments, warranties, novations etc. and negotiating the same with various parties including pension funds
- Acting for Moorfield on a succession of student accommodation developments, including:
- the acquisition by way of sub-sale and development of a brownfield site at Sheffield University campus for the construction of a 305 bed scheme (opened September 2016) known as “Century Sq”;
- the acquisition and development of a brownfield site in central Preston for the construction of a 315 bed student residential scheme;
- the acquisition of a £57m build cost development site in Greater London for the construction of a 488 unit student residential development within a wider, mixed-use site with contingent funding elements across other areas of the estate, including assisted living and private residential accommodation.
- Acting for Hudson Advisers on their disposal of a £40m mixed-use 433 unit PRS and student accommodation development with office and retail space at Velocity Village, Sheffield.
- Alumno Developments Limited - acquisition of development site in the west end of Glasgow, conditional upon planning consent and with forward funding agreement for ultimate investment sale of a £13.6m new build student accommodation for the University of Glasgow.
- Alumno Developments Limited – acquisition, funding, construction and development of mixed use developments incorporating 135 bed student accommodation for the University of St Andrews and subsequent £15m sale to investment funder.
- Close Brothers Limited – Gateway Studios, Elm Row, Edinburgh - all real estate finance aspects with respect to £6.9 million facility to Prime Student Housing Edinburgh Limited for demolition of historic Gateway Theatre and erection of new build student accommodation at Elm Row, Edinburgh.
- Crosslane Student Accommodation Limited - acting in £8.6 million investment acquisition of existing halls of residence at Sciennes, Edinburgh for refurbishment and including detailed negotiation of fresh lease of the whole subjects to the University of Edinburgh, and agreement as to provision of alternative accommodation in the event that Landlord’s works not completed prior to student occupation.
- Victus European Student Accommodation IC Fund – acting for Guernsey based fund specialising in the acquisition and management of properties in the student accommodation sector re £5.464m purchase of newly completed and fully let student accommodation for the University of Dundee.