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Sat December 07 2019

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Chicago developer targets UK student rooms market

25 Sep CA Ventures, a US real estate firm, is planning to invest £500m a year in the construction of purpose-built student accommodation in the UK and Ireland.

CA Ventures is embarking on a European expansion drive, which also includes a pipeline of £200m a year in Spain and £150m a year in both Portugal and Italy.

The Chicago-based investment company has delivered some 50,000 beds on or near North American campuses. It is now targeting £1.3bn in ground-up development starts in Europe over the next three years.

As part of its new European drive it has unveiled four initial purpose-built student accommodation (PBSA) development schemes in the UK. It is backed by capital partner PGIM Real Estate through its European real estate value-add debt platform and senior debt through Investec.

The three developments, which are expected to be ready by September 2021, are in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Belfast and Sheffield.

The Glasgow development will have 422 beds and be next to the University of Strathclyde, but still within walking distance of Glasgow Caledonian University and the University of Glasgow

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The Edinburgh development will have 216 beds and target students from both Edinburgh Napier University and the University of Edinburgh.

The Belfast scheme will provide accommodation for 251 students in the city.

The Sheffield development will have 250 beds and be next to Sheffield University and within walking distance of Sheffield Hallam University

CA Ventures’ pipeline also includes 257 beds in Dublin and further schemes in Bristol, York and Edinburgh that are all expected to be delivered by September 2021.

CA Ventures’ Europe chief, Carlo Matta, said: “We are very pleased to announce the start of our first development schemes in Europe. Outside of the US; the UK is the largest destination for international students but remains severely under-supplied with purpose-built student accommodations. The UK government’s recent extension to residency rights for international students, post-graduation, is a great signal to the global student community. We see a significant opportunity in the UK, Ireland and continental Europe, to deliver a modern, high quality student living experience. Limited supply, increasing obsolescence of older product and growing university enrolment has created a very favourable supply/demand dynamic, and we at CA Ventures have invested heavily in building out a development and property management infrastructure to execute our long-term growth plan. Across commercial real estate product types, we feel that student accommodation offers some of the best risk-adjusted returns given the ability to satisfy demand from both domestic and international students.”

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