With higher education having become one of the world’s most successful and dynamic industries, the student accommodation sector has grown to become a mature and stable asset class, attractive to both international and domestic real estate investors. 

Our multi-disciplinary student accommodation team advises specialist operators, universities, fund managers, equity investors and lenders in the sector. We focus on the entire life-cycle of student accommodation assets and businesses. We regularly advise: 

  • owners on direct and indirect acquisitions and disposals of portfolios of student accommodation properties; 
  • on planning, forward-funding, development, management, nominations and letting agreements for universities and owner-operators; 
  • investment managers on structuring and equity capital raising for joint ventures and open-ended and closed-end funds investing in the sector; and 
  • lenders to student accommodation platforms and businesses. 

We have advised on some of the largest and most high-profile transactions in multiple jurisdictions for market-leading operators, investors and lenders. Our exposure to this sector places us in a unique position in which to add value to our clients. 

Representative Experience

Operators and Investors

ADVISER TO THE LEADING STUDENT ACCOMMODATION PROVIDER IN THE UK
Location: UK, Nationwide

  • Advised Unite Students on a £300 million fundraising for the Unite UK Student Accommodation Fund (USAF);
  • Advised on the £270 million acquisition of the AUB UK Student Accommodation Fund, a portfolio of 2,099 beds across eight properties in London, Durham, Birmingham, York, Oxford, Leeds and Glasgow; and
  • Advising on all real estate matters for the USAF and LSAV (a 50/50 joint venture between the Government of Singapore Investment Corporation and Unite) which has included:
    • acquisitions including Stratford One and Aston Student Village;
    • disposals including the Project Spring Portfolio, Project Mayflower Portfolio and Woburn Place in London;
    • forward funding developments including Beech House in Oxford, Rushford Court in Durham and 1st Way Wembley;
    • refinancing portfolios of properties; and
    • strategic environmental and planning advice.

BLACKROCK’S UK-WIDE PORTFOLIO
Location: UK, Nationwide
Advising in relation to BlackRock’s new student accommodation fund building a portfolio of student accommodation and student housing acquired by other funds. This work included acquisitions, funding, development and associated tax structuring and negotiating nomination agreements in relation to sites in London, Leeds, Sheffield, Liverpool, Plymouth, Birmingham, Coventry, Exeter and Leicester.

£300 MILLION ACQUISITION OF STUDENT ACCOMMODATION PORTFOLIO
Location: UK
Advising Europa Generation on acquisitions including the £300 million acquisition and forward funding of the Watkin Jones Project Montreal portfolio.

£439 MILLION ACQUISITION OF UK STUDENT HOUSING PORTFOLIO
Location: UK
£439 million acquisition of a 90% interest in a Downing developed and managed 3,636 bed UK student housing portfolio comprising four operational assets and four assets in the course of construction.

M3 CAPITAL PARTNERS
Location: UK
Advised M3 Capital Partners in relation to the restructuring of the ownership of Urbanest UK, including the buy-out by Evergreen of the minority interest held by the previous management team; and in relation to Evergreen’s investments in the Urbanest UK and Urbanest Australia platforms.

ACQUISITION OF STUDENT ACCOMMODATION IN LONDON AND LEEDS
Location: UK, London and Leeds
Advised Rockspring on the separate acquisition of the Dashwood studios in London and Leodis student accommodation in Leeds, the subsequent development agreement and lease re-gearing for Leodis and joint disposal.

£532 MILLION SALE OF A STUDENT LIVING PLATFORM
Location: UK, London
Advised The Carlyle Group on the creation of the Pure Student Living platform joint venture with Generation Estates and subsequent sale to LetterOne Treasury Services for £532 million. The Pure portfolio then comprised of 2,170 rooms across five prime central London sites; Highbury, Hammersmith, Bankside, City and Whitechapel one of which was still under construction.

£415 MILLION ACQUSITION OF A STUDENT ACCOMMODATION BUSINESS
Location: UK, London
Advised Round Hill Capital £415 million acquisition of the Nido student accommodation business, with sites in King’s Cross, Spitalfields and Notting Hill which provide accommodation for over 2,500 students, from private equity firm Blackstone. Advised on the subsequent refinancing and then subsequent sale to Greystar Real Estate Partners for £600 million.

Universities

LONDON'S LEADING MULTIDISCIPLINARY UNIVERSITY
Location: UK, London
Advising on UCL East, a 1.5 million sq ft development project. The development involves a brownfield site and the designing of a new university complex with a mix of student and staff accommodation.

KING’S COLLEGE LONDON’S PURPOSE-BUILT STUDENT DEVELOPMENT
Location: UK, London
Advising on the Vauxhall student accommodation development scheme for King’s College London which involves a £120 million, 32 storey, purpose-built student development of 553 bedrooms in the heart of Vauxhall and Nine Elms.

UNIVERSITY OF CAMBRIDGE’S EXPANSION PROJECT
Location: UK, Cambridge
Advising University of Cambridge on all aspects of this 120 hectare major development project. The completed development, potentially a 15 year project, will comprise a million sq ft of research and development space, private and affordable housing with a total of c.2,500 residential units, hotel, retail uses, a school, nursery and community facilities. We have recently acted on the development and leasing of 245 student accommodation units to Girton College.

REGENERATION OF UNIVERSITY CAMPUSES
Location: UK, Brighton
Advised University of Brighton on regeneration of its Falmer and Moulscombe Campuses, including redevelopment and replacement of existing buildings to provide a new library, student accommodation and a wide range of state of the art teaching and sports facilities.

FINANCING OF TWO STUDENT ACCOMMODATION DEALS
Location: UK
Advised M&G Investments on the financing of two student accommodation deals. The first was in connection with a £115 million loan to IQ Two Property Limited Partnership, secured over a portfolio of student housing in London, Leeds, Sheffield, Preston, Birmingham, Salford and Edinburgh. The second was in connection with a loan to IQ Shoreditch Property Limited Partnership, secured over a property in Silicon Way, London. Both Borrowers were backed by The Wellcome Trust and Quintain Estates and Developments plc.

£219 MILLION FINANCING OF THE REGENERATION OF ASTON UNIVERSITY'S STUDENT ACCOMMODATION
Location: UK, Buckinghamshire
Advised Lloyds on its £219 million financing of the complete regeneration of Aston University's student accommodation and its funding of new student accommodation at Buckinghamshire New University, including detailed involvement in construction procurement strategy and documentation and advice on risk management issues.

£5 BILLION OF FINANCING FOR THE BARCLAYS STUDENT ACCOMMODATION TEAM
Location: UK, London
Advised on over £5 billion of financing for the Barclays student accommodation team including numerous student accommodation investment and development loans in London such as Lavington Street, Great Suffolk Street, Kings Cross and Commercial Road.

437 BED LUXURY STUDENT ACCOMMODATION
Location: UK, Nottingham
Acted for LaSalle Investment Management on providing senior development finance for the Fusion design-led 437 bed luxury student accommodation in Nottingham.

£124 MILLION LOAN SECURED ON 13 STUDENT ACCOMMODATION PROPERTIES
Location: UK, London
Acted for the Korea Investment Trust on their £124 million loan with Deutsche Bank to MSAF Finance Company Limited secured on 13 student accommodation properties in London.

EURO DINERO SARL (AN AFFILIATE OF SOVEREIGN WEALTH FUND GIC)
Location: UK
Advised as lender on a £155 million senior mezzanine loan, as part of a wider c.£600 million refinancing of existing debt, to LRG Group.

Representative Clients

  • Barclays  
  • Blackrock 
  • The Carlyle Group 
  • Euro Dinero Sarl (an affiliate of sovereign wealth fund GIC) 
  • Europa Generation 
  • King’s College London 
  • Korea Investment Trust Management 
  • M3 Capital Partners 
  • M&G Investments 
  • LaSalle Investment Management 
  • Lloyds 
  • Rockspring 
  • Round Hill Capital 
  • Tristan Capital Partners 
  • Unite Students 
  • University College London  
  • University of Brighton 
  • University of Cambridge