Watkin Jones unveils £50m Scottish student development pipeline



UK developer Watkin Jones has signalled confidence in the student accommodation markets in Edinburgh and Glasgow with the release of its development pipeline.

Richard Simpson, chief executive officer of Watkin Jones

The group has secured development agreements for two purpose-built student accommodation (PBSA) sites with new client CA Ventures, a Chicago-based real estate investment company.

The first site comprises 422 beds in Cathedral Street, Glasgow, whilst the second site comprises 216 beds in Dundee Street, Edinburgh. Both developments are scheduled for completion ahead of the 2021/2022 academic year.

The combined consideration payable for the development works for both schemes is circa £50 million, net of client costs.

CA Ventures was given a £64m loan toward the developments from Investec Structured Property Finance last month.

Watkin Jones has also secured a prime site in Iona Street, Edinburgh, where it will now seek planning permission for a scheme which comprises circa 270 student beds and a further 88 residential units. The project is targeted for delivery ahead of the 2022/23 academic year.

Elsewhere, Watkin Jones has secured funding for a mixed scheme of 691 student beds and 71 build-to-rent flats in Sheffield, representing the fifth deal with AIG Global Real Estate.

M&G Real Estate is backing a 166 private rental flats project in Sutton, due for delivery in June 2021, and 159 flats with office space in Bournemouth.

The group has also secured full planning consent for a student scheme of 348 beds and a 185-bed site in Bath.

Since 1999, the firm has delivered 41,000 student beds across 123 sites, making it a key player in the UK student accommodation market.

Richard Simpson, chief executive officer of Watkin Jones, said: “I would like to congratulate the teams involved in concluding these various transactions as planned, underlining the resilience and strength of the group’s business model, as well as that of the sectors in which we operate.

“We highly value our institutional clients and partners and it is pleasing to see a number of our key relationships strengthened further at this time.”



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