GSA Group and Harrison Street expand presence in Bristol’s strong student market

27 August 2020

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Global Student Accommodation Group (GSA), the world leader in university student living, and its joint venture (JV) partner, Harrison Street, one of the leading investment management firms exclusively focused on alternative real assets, today announce the acquisition of two purpose built student accommodation (PBSA) assets in Bristol, UK (the Transaction).

Under the terms of the Transaction, the JV has acquired the Print Hall and Unity Street residences from a UK Pension Fund, with HSBC providing bank debt for the acquisition. The properties will be operated by GSA, extending the long term and valued partnership with the University of Bristol.

Print Hall and Unity Street are adjacent student residences with a combined 500 beds, offering both studios and single en-suite bedrooms within cluster apartments, and featuring top-tier facilities. They are conveniently located for students attending the University of Bristol, and also close to the city’s central amenities in an area undergoing comprehensive regeneration. Print Hall opened in 2017, and Unity Street opened in 2019.

Bristol is one of the UK’s leading university cities and the Transaction increases the JV partners’ exposure to its dynamic and growing student market. The properties are also in close proximity to the University of Bristol’s new Temple Quarter Enterprise Campus which is anticipated to be home to 3,500 students and 800 staff when it opens in 2023.

James Hunt, Managing Director, Real Estate, of GSA, said, “This transaction expands GSA’s footprint in Bristol to support the city’s strong and growing student market. We are now home to over 800 of the University of Bristol’s students, and I am delighted to strengthen our existing ties with the University, one of the UK’s leading academic institutions. Harrison Street is a valued and longstanding partner, and we are very pleased to be working with them on another transaction. Our investment will provide significant benefits for all of our stakeholders as we continue to develop our portfolio of Tier one assets in key locations.”

Rob Mathias, Partner and Head of International Business for Harrison Street, said, “This transaction is consistent with Harrison Street’s approach of investing in high quality PBSA assets in strong European markets.  Bristol is a great university town home to more than 46,000 students, with an additional 3,500 expected in 2023 following the University of Bristol’s planned expansion.  We are pleased to continue our long-standing partnership with GSA, a best-in-class operator in the PBSA sector, to ensure Bristol remains a top destination for students across the UK and broader continent. Finally, we look forward to partnering with the University of Bristol to provide high quality student accommodations that will enhance the university experience for its students.”

GSA and Harrison Street began their partnership in December 2015 and have since acquired 27 properties accounting for over 8,600 beds across the U.K., Ireland and Spain.