Hines has made its second entry into the Italian student housing market, with the acquisition of a site near Bocconi University, Milan, to develop a 650-bed accommodation facility. The investment is part of a joint venture between Hines and Blue Noble, an independent real estate investment management company. The acquisition is Hines and Blue Noble’s second student housing investment in Italy following the via Giovenale acquisition in March 2018. The joint venture is continuing to assess opportunities in the student housing sector in the main Italian university cities, with Rome, Florence and Venice targeted alongside Milan. The purchase price was not disclosed.
Located a 10-minute walk from Bocconi, at the corner of via Ripamonti and Viale Isonzo, the scheme will also offer “micro-living” units: micro apartments and rooms targeting young professionals in need of short-term accommodation. The anticipated development aims to provide 650 plus student beds with modern spaces and services, including common areas, study rooms, library, cinema and gym. Development of the new scheme is scheduled to commence in late 2018 with completion expected by the end of 2021.
Blue Noble will act as a portfolio manager and the asset will be managed directly by Hines through Aparto, the company’s dedicated student accommodation operating platform, which currently operates 1,400 student beds in the UK and Ireland, with an additional pipeline of 3,600 beds across Europe.
Lars Huber, CEO of Hines Europe, said: “The student housing market continues to offer an attractive investment proposition and we look forward to growing our portfolio across key markets in Europe. Italy is a core market and we are excited to announce our second acquisition through this joint venture with Blue Noble representing a series of investments in core cities across the country with growing and dynamic student populations.”
Mario Abbadessa, Italy country head for Hines, said: “We are extremely pleased with this investment, which demonstrates Hines’ focus on Italy and, specifically, the student housing sector. We see a wide gap between supply and demand in Italy, in terms of available accommodation and particularly in terms of its quality, sustainability and flexibility. Our goal is to provide innovative solutions to the different needs of students, foreigners and young professionals. Over the next two years, we aim to invest €500m in the main Italian university cities.”
Paul Forshaw, CEO of Blue Noble, added: “We are very pleased to confirm the acquisition of our second proposed student housing development in Milan, working alongside Hines Italy. As an investor and portfolio manager, Blue Noble is excited about the prospect of matching a compelling investment proposition with the ability to make a meaningful contribution to the provision of short-term accommodation in the city.”