Greystar acquires four UK PBSA assets

Greystar acquires four UK PBSA assets and one BTR for £388m and unveils new pan-European brand called Canvas.

River Street student accommodation in Manchester - Greystar | PBSA News
River Street student accommodation in Manchester.

Global leader in the investment, development, and management of high-quality rental housing, Greystar Real Estate Partners LLC (Greystar), has acquired four purpose-built student accommodation (PBSA) buildings and a Build to Rent asset. The five assets have been acquired for £388m from Downing on behalf of a managed fund in an open market bidding process. The acquisition is subject to regulatory approvals.

The four PBSA assets are located in leading university cities – London, Manchester and Coventry, and total 1,807 beds.

“We invested heavily to develop these sites to the highest possible standard and are extremely proud of what we have achieved. All assets currently have strong occupancy and boast high quality amenities including gyms, cinema rooms and terraces.

“It is a reflection of the quality of these assets and Downing’s approach that we secured such strong interest from large institutional investors. We are proud to be setting the standards in terms of design, quality of build and management of these residential schemes and also to be setting the bar in terms of transformational place-making and regeneration.

“This announcement marks an exciting milestone for our business. With over £1bn worth of developments in the pipeline at sites across the UK, the agreement we have reached with Greystar will allow us to look for opportunities to grow our development programme further.”

George Downing, Founder, Downing

Amenities at the schemes include terraces, gyms and cinema rooms. Greystar will deliver additional value to the schemes by implementing its vertically integrated platform. This will include asset improvements, the creation of new amenities as well as driving leasing.

“Our growth strategy in the UK is underpinned by strong, long-term market fundamentals. With the expectation that the UK’s 18-year-old population is set to grow by 2.1% per annum until 2030, Greystar is well positioned to capitalise on increasing demand for high-quality student accommodation.”

Ben Mowbray, Senior Director – UK Investment, Greystar

The two London assets in Lambeth and North Acton will be added to the Chapter portfolio. The assets in Manchester and Coventry will operate under a new pan-European student and young professional accommodation brand unveiled for the first time by Greystar as Canvas.

Canvas has already been applied to assets Greystar acquired from Nido in 2021 – namely five assets in the UK located in Bristol, Glasgow, Coventry and London (Walthamstow and Wembley) and one in Utrecht, the Netherlands.

Developed entirely in-house by the Greystar Marketing, Brand and Insights team, Canvas aims to support people during a significant period of their life by providing a safe and sustainable living environment. Canvas is part of a multi-asset brand strategy linked to a licence model that offers Greystar’s partners a broader branding service, where they can benefit from tapping into a wider footprint and the financial efficiencies of scale.

“With the launch of our Canvas brand, we are pledging to work together with our residents to create a more sustainable future, as we believe what we do today affects our tomorrow. All of our brands are customer-centric with residents at their heart; we utilise extensive customer research and feedback to thoroughly understand the needs and preferences of our target audiences.

“By listening and learning from our residents, we know that sustainability and wellbeing are now not just a nice to have but central to their decision-making process. It is envisaged that as the footprint of the brand grows across Europe that Canvas residents will be able to benefit from short stays at other buildings within the portfolio giving them easy access to a range of cities.”

Melody Mijnen, Senior Director – Marketing, Brand and Insights, Greystar

Chapter currently contains 11 premium London student accommodation buildings totalling 5,642 beds in Zone one and two locations including Spitalfields, South Bank, Old Street and Highbury. The two new assets will add an additional 630 beds to the portfolio.