Blacklight’s Limelight PBSA scheme nears completion

The Limelight development, Blacklight's final phase of its student accommodation scheme in Liverpool nears completion.

The Limelight PBSA development has almost reached completion in Liverpool | Blacklight Capital | PBSA News
The Limelight PBSA development has almost reached completion in Liverpool.

Investor and developer Blacklight Capital Partners have announced that its £60m Liverpool purpose-built student accommodation (PBSA) development – Limelight – is nearing completion.  

After acquiring the former ‘Natex’ scheme out of administration in July 2022, Blacklight implemented a major redesign of the original project, before continuing development of the Norton Street site in the city’s Knowledge Quarter. 

Phase one, which welcomed students from October 2023, saw the opening of Block A and 331 studio apartments and ensuite flats. Amenities include a 15th floor sky lounge with panoramic views of the city, privately bookable sky kitchen, dedicated gaming and karaoke room, fitness studio with Wexer technology, Matrix gym, cinema, and expansive co-working spaces. Private facilities include 550 sq ft shared kitchens for ensuite flats with floor to ceiling glazing and 65” flat screen televisions.

Studio apartment at the scheme - Limelight | Blacklight Capital | PBSA News
Studio apartment at the scheme.

“The impending opening of Phase Two is an incredibly exciting time. This final phase will complement our existing amenities to put our residents on the best possible path whilst studying in the city.  

“We recognise that in a student market like Liverpool, our accommodation needs to stand out and be more than just a place to stay. It needs to be a community and we want to build on that – to make Limelight a lifestyle choice for our guests. That is why the guest experience is at the heart of all design decisions we have made at Limelight.

“The external amenities and the events it will allow us to put on throughout the year are not replicated anywhere in the city and we are already in talks to host numerous music and food-based events this summer.” 

Tom Mees, Development Director, Blacklight
Studio apartment at the scheme - Limelight | Blacklight Capital | PBSA News
Studio apartment at the scheme.

The final phase, which will see Block B and a further 204 rooms open to students, will be completed by spring 2024. In addition to the bedrooms, residents will also benefit from a large wellbeing garden located between the blocks, that will provide students with an external event and relaxation space, all set within a secure and gated environment. 

The Limelight PBSA scheme currently ranks number one on student accommodation review site StudentCrowd, with the reviews posted citing the staff and facilities as among the best in the city. Residents also rated Limelight as ‘excellent’ in a recent Investor in Students survey, which measured their check-in and initial impressions back in November. 

Blacklight’s emphasis on ESG is also reflected in the Limelight scheme. The building is designed with the latest-generation roof top PV panels, a blue roof, energy-efficient heating in each room and a insulation solution. 

Gym at the scheme - Limelight | Blacklight Capital | PBSA News
Gym at the scheme.

“We are very excited to complete the Limelight project and believe we are delivering something unique into the Liverpool student accommodation market. We have taken extra care to ensure that our property fits the brief for the modern student’s needs, keeping their mental and physical wellbeing front and centre of everything we offer.  

“Looking ahead, we recognise the forecasted growth of the PBSA sector and are keen to fulfil further projects across the country. As we have now demonstrated with two large-scale PBSA schemes in Liverpool, we have a proven track record of delivering state-of-the art, institutional grade assets for the benefit of the local community, our residents and our investors. 

“We pride ourselves on engaging with best-in-class operator partners to ensure our residents’ experience is the best and will only look to bring schemes forward that meet the rigorous location and design criteria we set ourselves. In the case of Limelight, we opted to partner with Homes for Students who have managed the building and its occupants in an exemplary fashion.

“Their ethos is very similar to ours and the wonderful relationship between the Homes for Students onsite team and Limelight’s guests demonstrates this.” 

Matthew Hunt, Managing Director, Blacklight
Concept image of the scheme - Limelight | Blacklight Capital | PBSA News
Concept image of the scheme.

Limelight is the second PBSA scheme in Liverpool that Blacklight has delivered. The investment firm acquired the first scheme – the stalled 999-bed Aura development on Erskine Street – in 2020, ensuring it completed and opened to students before selling it for £110m in September 2022.

The London-based firm is now searching for future opportunities and is also exploring site acquisitions within the Build to Rent and co-living sectors. Blacklight has secured £75m of capital investment from European special opportunities investment fund RoundShield Partners to strengthen its reach in the sector.