Harrison Street and CA Ventures JV to acquire and develop PBSA in UK

Harrison Street and CA Ventures form JV to acquire and develop PBSA in the UK – and have identified four projects.

Botanic Avenue purpose-built student accommodation scheme, Belfast - Harrison Street | CA Ventures | PBSA News
Botanic Avenue purpose-built student accommodation scheme, Belfast.

Harrison Street and CA Ventures has announced it will form a new joint venture (JV) partnership to develop and acquire purpose-built student accommodation (PBSA) assets across the UK. The JV has also announced its first four PBSA development projects – in London, Edinburgh, Leicester and Belfast. The projects will total 935 student beds and will be managed by CA Ventures inhouse PBSA operating platform – Novel Student. 

Each of the PBSA developments will include units with bed-bath parity and a range of amenities – including study lounges, fitness centres, cinema and games rooms and outdoor courtyards.

“This JV is a testament to Harrison Street’s long-term conviction in the European student accommodation sector. We are excited to expand our presence in top-tier university cities in the UK, with each having growing student populations in need of high-quality PBSA that cater to their wellbeing.  

“CA Ventures is a strong partner, with whom Harrison Street has worked with for over a dozen years in the United States, that boasts significant expertise operating student housing properties globally. We are excited to expand our partnership with them as we continue our approach of investing in strong PBSA assets in attractive UK university markets.”

Paul Bashir, Chief Executive Officer, Harrison Street’s European business

The initial portfolio includes:

  • Hackney Wick in London: a 330-bed property which is a short walk from multiple university campuses. The PBSA scheme is located in a growing student hub in London which features numerous amenities, multiple transit and shopping options, cultural and nightlife attractions, and London’s premier tech innovation hub – Here East.
  • Stanley Place in Edinburgh: a 102-bed, three storey building in a location ideal for students attending the University of Edinburgh. The PBSA scheme is close to grocery stores, retail, Holyrood Park, restaurants and entertainment – including the Easter Road football stadium (Hibernian Premiership club) and concert venue. 
  • Conduit Street in Leicester: will offer 250 student beds and easy access to the University of Leicester and De Montfort University. The local area provides numerous amenities for students – including restaurants and cafés, shops, Victoria Park, and the Welford Road and King Power Stadiums. 
  • Botanic Avenue in Belfast: includes 253 student beds. The PBSA scheme is immediately adjacent to Queen’s University in the southern area of Belfast’s vibrant city centre. It’s also a short walk from the Botanic Train Station, which services much of Belfast city, as well as restaurants, entertainment and activity centres – many of which are designed to cater to the lifestyle of university students.

“We are thrilled to be partnering with Harrison Street, a long-time trusted investment partner, to deliver these exciting new PBSA schemes. Despite the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic, the student accommodation sector has continued to demonstrate its recession-resistant qualities and outperform other commercial real estate asset classes. 

“Our JV with Harrison Street is a great example of the momentum we are currently experiencing in the student sector, globally. There is clear demand for the products and services that CA Ventures specialises in and we believe in the investment opportunity now more than ever.”

Carlo Matta, Head of Europe, CA Ventures

Earlier last year, CA Ventures launched Novel Student to operate its new development portfolio in the UK and Europe. The brand was designed to reflect the needs and preferences of Generation Z students – prioritising the ‘live, work, play’ model, as well as integrated wellness. 

With the addition of the JV’s newly announced PBSA assets, Novel’s portfolio will include over 2,500 beds under management across the UK and Europe. CA Ventures currently has 897 beds under construction in Glasgow, Edinburgh and Sheffield – which will be delivered in time for the 2021-22 academic year.