Three major apartment home companies including Charleston-based Greystar Real Estate Partners say they're forming a joint venture to build up Chapter, the leading brand in London for student housing.
Greystar, a global apartment home leader, will team up with Canada-based Public Sector Pension Investment Board money manager and Allianz Real Estate worldwide real estate asset manager.
Allianz is buying an interest in Chapter, joining PSP Investments and Greystar which already hold stakes. The agreement backs an "expansion program targeting 10,000 student beds and doubling the size of the portfolio within five years," the partners said.
The groups expect to grow the property through acquisitions and new developments while improving the Chapter brand and its assets.
Greystar holds 435,000 rental units under management globally. It's current portfolio comprises 5,100 student beds in 10 central London locations including Aldgate, Islington, King's Cross, South Bank and Spitalfields. Chapter White City in west London and Chapter Highbury II in north London will launch in September as the two newest additions.
"This partnership marks an important step in the rapidly growing institutional-grade rental housing and student accommodation investment market in the (United Kingdom)," says Bob Faith, founder and chief executive of Greystar. "We have a hugely ambitious target to scale the business to secure major operational efficiencies. This joint venture means we’re now in a strong position with tremendous financial resources to realize Chapter's potential," he says.
According to Faith, London’s housing market faces "enormous pressure" and student accommodations in prime spots are constrained, he says. Meanwhile, London stands as a global leader in higher education attracting students from around the world. "We have built Chapter into a strong brand, which students and parents from around the world trust to provide a safe and secure home while they are pursuing their studies,” Faith says.
“Chapter is now a recognized, income-generating business and this new partnership will strengthen and grow this highly efficient purpose-built student accommodation platform," says Stéphane Jalbert, managing director in Europe and Asia Pacific real estate for PSP Investments. “Allianz and Greystar share our long-term view and focus on high-quality assets in central London with a steady income stream," he says.
“This joint venture with Greystar and PSP Investments underlines our strategic commitment to scale up our global allocation to high-quality student accommodation in established markets,” says Olivier Téran, chief investment officer of Allianz Real Estate. "This transaction is particularly important for Allianz as it also marks our largest equity investment into the UK, he says, noting that the company will continue exploring opportunities to expand in Britain.
QS, a leading global higher education company which publishes the annual World University Rankings, recently rated London as the best city in the world for university students.
At the same time, London is experiencing a housing shortage, and demand for student accommodation currently exceeds supply by a ratio of two to one, Greystar says.
The transaction with Allianz is subject to customary regulatory approvals, the company notes.