Dominvs completes UK’s largest forward-funding deal with Scape

Dominvs Group completes the UK’s largest ever student forward-funding deal with Scape – to fund homes for Imperial College students.

CGI of Dominvs Group's Hammersmith scheme | PBSA News
CGI of Dominvs Group's Hammersmith scheme.

London-based investor and developer – Dominvs Group – completes the UK’s largest ever forward-funding deal for purpose-built student accommodation (PBSA) with Scape. Advised on by Knight Frank, the £173.25m forward fund for a 713 bed scheme will also be one of the largest student accommodation scheme’s ever to be developed in London. Amenities will include study and seminar space, gym, a landscaped garden courtyard and space for pop-ups and events.

“This is a hugely significant transaction for the UK’s PBSA sector. As the largest forward-funding deal to take place in the market to date, it not only demonstrates the real strength of UK student property, but also the need for developers and operators to meet growing demand for accommodation in the capital.

Merelina Sykes, Co-head of Student Property, Knight Frank

The Hammersmith site at 181 Talgarth Road in west London initially had planning permission for two hotels. One hotel went ahead which will deliver a 400-key hotel for Premier Inn. Due to market conditions as a result of Covid-19, the northern building was no longer viable as a hotel, and Dominvs Group reworked proposals following the support of Imperial College London, and won unanimous consent from Hammersmith and Fulham Council in March to deliver the PBSA scheme. The combined scheme has a GDV of £270m.

“We are delighted to have secured this high-profile site in Hammersmith which will be a superb addition to Scape’s portfolio and allows us to bring our market leading product to west London. Dominvs have secured a fantastic consent and we look forward to working with them on this and other projects in the future.”

Adam Brockley, Founder and Global CDO, Scape
CGI of Dominvs Group's Hammersmith student scheme | PBSA News
CGI of Dominvs Group’s Hammersmith student scheme.

Dominvs secured unanimous approval after a comprehensive and collaborative engagement process with local residents. The investor and developer gained support from local residents through its Community Liaison Group, which enabled residents to input into the PBSA design alongside internationally renowned and Stirling prize winning architects, Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners (RSH+P). This resulted in a significant reduction of height from the originally consented hotel.

“It’s a privilege to have worked alongside Imperial, Hammersmith and Fulham Council and the local community who collaborated with us to find real solutions which helped unlock this site and, above all else, worked for local people. The result is a milestone deal for the market with the creation of institutional-grade student housing alongside a new Premier Inn, underpinning our ability to create value across multiple asset classes.” 

Preet Ahluwalia, Principal, Dominvs Group

The company was also praised at planning committee for placing residents’ views at the heart of its design, with the senior team and principles of Dominvs personally meeting with locals alongside legendary architect Ivan Harbour – long-time partner of the late Lord (Richard) Rogers, famed architect of the Pompidou and Lloyds of London. 

The site is located close to Imperial College London’s White City campus – and there is an intention that 50% of the rooms will be nominated by the University. Other local higher education institutions close to the scheme include The London Academy of Music & Dramatic Art (LAMDA), the White City site of the Royal College of Art (RCA) and West London College.

“Imperial College London has a strategic partnership with the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham to support inclusive economic growth, sustainable businesses and rapid innovation. We have a shared vision to create a world-class ecosystem centred on close collaboration between academics, students, entrepreneurs, businesses and residents: the White City Innovation District.

“A key factor in sustaining any successful innovation ecosystem is the sufficient availability of affordable and fit for purpose accommodation for critical communities of rare talent. Opportunities like this will increase the capacity to ensure that talent can emerge from any background and not just the most privileged. 181 Talgarth Road is a short walk from our clinical teaching site at Charing Cross Hospital and a short cycle ride from Hammersmith Hospital. It is well-connected to our growing White City Campus, home to our Molecular Sciences Hub, School of Public Health and Sir Michael Uren Biomedical Engineering Hub.”

John Anderson, Director of Financial Strategy, Imperial College London