The UNITE Group plc, the UK's leading developer and manager of student accommodation, has completed the purchase of a zone 1 site in Camden, North London, from Travis Perkins for £23.8 million (approx. €29.2 million) with funding provided by HSBC.
The innovative transaction saw the Group secure planning consent in August 2011 in partnership with Travis Perkins (Properties) Ltd. Under the terms of the deal, UNITE will provide Travis Perkins with a new trading facility on the ground floor of the development once it completes.
Travis Perkins will continue trading until November in the existing scheme. The Camden development, which received unanimous approval from Camden Council in August 2011, will provide a range of professionally managed cluster apartments and spacious studios. Construction of the 563-bed balance sheet scheme will begin in December 2012 and the property will open in 2014. Mansell Construction has been appointed as main contractor.
Located in the heart of Camden, the development is adjacent to the Royal Veterinary College and close to several other key London higher education institutions and benefits from excellent transport links, being just a five minute walk from Kings Cross Station.
Savills advised UNITE on this transaction.
Commenting on the scheme, Richard Simpson, UNITE's Managing Director of Property, said: "Camden Town is the top London location for students and this scheme will provide rare, zone 1 cluster flats at affordable rents.
"This site purchase marks a further milestone in our target to expand our presence in the key London market, substantially. We expect London to continue to benefit from strong market fundamentals, with the supply/demand imbalance still a key factor, and we expect it to remain the most attractive and thereby resilient destination for UK and international students."
Marin Meech, Group Property Director of Travis Perkins said: "We are pleased to have worked with UNITE and Camden Council to create a brand new facility for our customers. We are hopeful of working with Camden elsewhere in the Borough in order to preserve existing jobs at other branches which require redevelopment.
"Mixed-use developments of this type are essential for regeneration and maintaining existing jobs. The St Pancras project forms part of the Group's perpetual program of extracting value out of its existing property portfolio whilst at the same time improving the quality of its facilities for both its customers and employees."
Source: FTI Consulting