iQ and Blackstone acquire two PBSA assets

After being acquired by Blackstone in 2020, iQ has supported the firm in the acquisition of two purpose-built student accommodation (PBSA) assets.

37th floor games and social space at the Vega PBSA scheme in London, one of the acquired assets alongside The Mont in Edinburgh - iQ | Blackstone | PBSA News
37th floor games and social space at the Vega PBSA scheme in London, one of the acquired assets alongside The Mont in Edinburgh. Image credit: McCoy Wynne.

Student accommodation provider iQ Student Accommodation (iQ) announces that it has supported alternative asset manager Blackstone in the acquisition of two PBSA assets from Downing Students.

The acquired assets – in two of the UK’s most vibrant and popular university destinations for students – include the 841-bed Vega in London and the 324-bed The Mont in Edinburgh.

“We are delighted to be expanding our portfolio of high-quality, well-located student accommodation in these two capital cities, home to some of the most prestigious universities in the world, and where supply continues to fall short of demand.

“This builds on recent acquisitions in Glasgow, Nottingham and Warwick, as iQ and Blackstone continue to invest in Russell Group markets where student growth is highest. We look forward to welcoming students for the 2023/24 academic year, bringing them the fantastic accommodation experience that iQ provides.”

Matt Merrick, CEO, iQ Student Accommodation

Located in Vauxhall, Vega is situated close to key transport links which provide excellent connectivity to top tier universities throughout central London. Opened in 2021 and built to a BREEAM Excellent standard, amenities include a gym, private dining area, sky lounge and roof terrace.

The Mont, a brand-new property which opened in September 2023, is located a short walk from the University of Edinburgh’s Central Area and the historic city centre. Amenities include a cinema room, private dining area, gym and resident’s lounge.

“London and Edinburgh are two of the UK’s most attractive student cities, with world leading educational institutions attracting students from both across the UK and abroad. We are delighted to have partnered with Downing Students on these transactions and with Vega and The Mont in its portfolio, iQ will add further capacity to its best in-class offering for student housing, an area in which we will continue to deploy capital with conviction.”

Samir Amichi, Head of Real Estate Acquisitions Europe, Blackstone

London is ranked the best student city in the world with four of the world’s top 50 universities, while The University of Edinburgh is one of the UK’s most prestigious universities – ranked 5th in the UK, 1st in Scotland and 15th globally.

Blackstone acquired iQ in May 2020 for £4.7bn, which at the time was the largest ever private real estate transaction in the UK.