Hines has made its first entry into the Italian student housing market, with the acquisition of a site near Bocconi University, Milan, to develop a 600-bed accommodation facility. The investment is part of a joint venture between Hines and Blue Noble, an independent real estate investment management company, and will be Hines’ first in a series of investments in student housing in the main Italian university cities, with Rome, Florence and Venice targeted alongside Milan.
The anticipated development aims to provide 600 student beds with modern spaces and services, including common areas, study rooms, library, cinema and gym.
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.
Located a five-minute walk from Bocconi, at the corner of Via Giovenale and Via Col Moschin, the scheme will also offer “micro-living” units: micro apartments and rooms targeting young professionals in need of short-term accommodation.
Completion of the acquisition is due to occur in May 2018, with the development of the new scheme scheduled to begin in 2018 and anticipated to be completed by the end of 2020.
Lars Huber, CEO of Hines Europe, said: “We are very committed to the student housing sector, and look forward to expanding our growing portfolio in many markets across Europe. Italy represents a key market and we expect this first acquisition through this joint venture with Blue Noble to mark the first of 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 confirms 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: “Our investment into this site and proposed development presents an exciting opportunity for us to contribute towards redressing the apparent imbalance in the supply and demand of student accommodation in Milan. We remain focused on gaining access to interesting investment opportunities in the UK and Europe on behalf of our investors and this venture alongside Hines, with whom we have strong and established historical connections, is a compelling case.”