Two luxury PBSA schemes in Sheffield and Leeds sold for £90m

Two luxury purpose-built student accommodation (PBSA) developments - including one of the tallest buildings in Leeds - has been sold in a £90m deal.

PBSA development, LSPIM
PBSA development, LSPIM

Two luxury purpose-built student accommodation (PBSA) developments – Crown House in Sheffield and Symons House in Leeds – have been sold for £90m. The student housing division of London and Scottish Property Investment Management (LSPIM) – a Glasgow-based property developer – developed both PBSA’s which house over 700 students. This was the first PBSA venture for LSPIM.

LSPIM has now sold both developments on behalf of a US-based private investor. Knight Frank marketed the properties which have been purchased by an unnamed far eastern investor, who was represented by JLL and Savills IM. 

“We’re very pleased with the level of interest shown in these properties. We’ve developed a sound business model and have good relationships with both lenders and investors. As a result, these two projects – our first in the student accommodation sector – have been hugely successful for us.

“Having proved that the model works, we intend to reinvest the proceeds in further projects. We will definitely look at more student developments in university towns but will also consider opportunities in other sectors.”

Stephen Inglis, Chief Executive, London and Scottish Property Investment Management

The PBSA developments

LSPIM bought Crown House in Sheffield back in December 2015. The site – which was in Sheffield’s Cathedral Quarter – was a former office block. It was redeveloped into 355 luxury studio bedrooms. Building works completed in July 2017 and the PBSA opened to students in September 2017.

“This transaction represents the most significant deal in the UK student accommodation market since we entered lockdown in March. The best in class assets are located in prime university cities, with Crown House benefiting from a strong trading history.”

Rachel Pengilley, Partner, Knight Frank’s Student Property team

LSPIM bought Symons House in Leeds in April 2017. The 1980s four-storey office building was redeveloped into a 22-storey PBSA development with 351 beds. The project was completed in December 2019 and opened to students in January 2020. 

Both PBSA developments include amenities covering 8,000 sq ft, including a study area, lounges, cinema, games area, private dining space, fitness suite and outdoor spaces with an open-air cinema and BBQ area.

“The acquisition demonstrates continued confidence in the sector from overseas investors, particularly at a time when there are some wider concerns regarding student numbers for the academic year 20/21. 

“Despite a tumultuous first half of 2020, the long-standing fundamentals of the student sector remain attractive, and we’re seeing renewed interest to acquire from a variety of funding sources.”

Rachel Pengilley, Partner, Knight Frank’s Student Property team