Student development acquired in £10.7m deal

Algernon Firth Building at Leeds University purchased by Empiric last year.
Algernon Firth Building at Leeds University purchased by Empiric last year.
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A student property firm has acquired a, forward funded, development in Sheffield for a total investment of £10.7m

Empiric Student Property plc has acquired Portobello House, a 134 bed new-build premium student accommodation scheme.

It has acquired the freehold to the site on Portobello Street, located in the heart of the University of Sheffield campus and within a 10 minute walk to the city centre and Sheffield Hallam University.

The scheme comprises 134 beds across a mix of studios and 2-bed self-contained apartments, together with student communal space.

GHL (Portobello Road) Limited, a joint venture between Visage Properties Limited and Galliard Homes Limited, will undertake the construction of the property on behalf of Empiric, to the company’s specifications.

The full amount required for the development will be invested in stages against development milestones. Empiric will receive an income return from the developer on funds invested during the development period.

Paul Hadaway, chief executive of Empiric Student Property, said: “This forward funded project represents the company’s first investment in Sheffield, a popular city with students.

“The University of Sheffield has over 26,000 students with a significant proportion of post-graduate and overseas students and is ranked in the top 30 universities in the UK.

“Sheffield Hallam University has a large student population of over 33,000, a substantial proportion of whom are post-graduate. The site is ideally located and we expect the scheme to generate attractive returns in line with our stated investment parameters.”

The property is scheduled to be completed by July 2016, in time for the 2016/17 academic year, with marketing commencing in November 2015.

Empiric, which raised £85m in last summer’s initial public offering, bought Algernon Firth in Leeds for £7.2m in December.

The building offers high-quality student accommodation in a converted a Grade 2-listed building located within walking distance of both the city’s universities.

The fully occupied building has 111 beds in a mixture of en-suite flats and large loft-style studios. It also has a well-equipped gym and dedicated study areas.