GSA and Harrison Street announce €750m joint venture in Spain and wider European student accommodation push

08 April 2019

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Global Student Accommodation Group (GSA), the world leader in university student living, and Harrison Street, one of the largest real estate investment firms focused on the Education sector, today announced an agreement to acquire more than 10,000 student beds and deploy over €750m in top-tier university cities across Spain.

This joint venture will build upon GSA and Harrison Street’s successful, similar partnerships in the UK and Ireland, and positions both firms to grow their global platforms across multiple leading European markets.

Demonstrating its commitment to developing high-quality, purpose-built student accommodations (PBSA) in Spain, the joint venture will initially add 8,000 new student rooms in Madrid and Barcelona in addition to the 2,000 existing bedrooms which have seeded the JV. The agreement will allow GSA España, together with Harrison Street, to achieve its ambitious growth plans across the Iberian Peninsula and expand into other targeted areas of Europe, where there are compelling opportunities in university cities.

Spain continues to grow as an attractive international and post graduate study location. Barcelona, where the JV will open two new student communities in September 2019, is one of the most popular student destinations* and home to three highly ranked global business schools*. Whilst there is growing student demand, less than 10% of the student population can access purpose-built and professionally managed student accommodation. GSA is ideally placed to support students and universities with a unique student ecosystem, enabling students to seamlessly access a range of student services where ever they are. GSA features the best locations, high speed internet connected bedrooms, wellbeing and loyalty programmes, welcoming student communities and a strong local student hospitality team.

Just over 18 months after first entering the Spanish market, GSA has already achieved its target of delivering more than 2,000 student beds in the country by the end of 2019, all of which are managed by GSA’s local operator Nexo Residencias. Reservations, bookings and customer satisfaction are strong, with Nexo Residencias attracting both domestic and international students. Nexo Residencias forms part of the continued growth of GSA’s unique global platform, which connects students and universities to create thriving communities around the globe.

Rob Mathias, Senior Managing Director, Harrison Street said: “The Spanish student housing market is extremely attractive due to a lack of adequate housing options and outdated facilities for the 1.3 million students in the country.   We are excited to continue our long-standing relationship with GSA Group to bring our rigorous investment approach and combined student housing expertise to the growing Spanish student housing market through partnerships with proven operators and developers, and we look forward to continuing our growth together across Europe.”

Nicholas Porter, Executive Chairman at GSA Group said: “GSA is the best in class student hospitality operator globally and continues to attract the highest quality institutional funding which combined with GSA’s student ecosystem of connected services, marketing, sales and global operational skills, unlocks the value of our assets.  Together with Harrison Street, we have rapidly created a strong first mover advantage in Spain. With Harrison Street’s investment expertise and our unique student ecosystem, specialist hospitality management and operating credentials we are well placed for another winning partnership in both Spain and more widely in targeted areas across Europe.”