24 Jun 2020
£17.5 million Investec loan to fund Scape development in Bloomsbury
Favorable structural trends underpinning investor appeal for exposure to asset class despite short-term COVID-19 volatility.
Investec Structured Property Finance (“Investec”) announces that it has agreed to provide Scape, the global purpose-built student accommodation (“PBSA”) provider, with a £17.5 million senior loan to fund the acquisition and development of its Thanet Street scheme in Bloomsbury, London WC1. The project will see the full refurbishment of the existing property to deliver 60 self-contained studio units.
The development is centrally located in Bloomsbury and will be within walking distance of several leading universities, including the University of London, Birbeck University and SOAS. Students will also benefit from the proximity to London King’s Cross and St Pancras International railway stations and tube stations, which together form one of the country’s largest transport hubs.
London remains Europe’s largest student market, and new development continues to be impacted by a restrictive planning environment. Two of the UK’s fastest growing universities are located in the city: University College London saw student numbers rise by 10,365 (46%) from 2012/13 to 2017/18 while King’s College London grew by 6,080 (31%) over the same period.
To date, Investec has provided Scape and it partners with over £150 million of senior debt funding, across five schemes. Since the start of 2015, Investec has originated £677 million of funding in the PBSA sector to a range of UK and global institutions, financing more than 16,000 beds across 23 university cities.
Erin Clarke, at Investec Structured Property Finance, commented: “This is a high quality development in a prime London location, which is well placed to further meet the demands of London’s student population. Despite short-term uncertainty affecting the sector, the city’s enduring international appeal and challenging planning restrictions continue to underpin favourable supply-demand dynamics.
“We remain steadfast in our conviction that the PBSA sector will continue to be a sought after asset class by both UK and global investors, attracted by its long income characteristics and attractive pricing. Having forged an extremely close relationship with Scape, we look forward to working with them on future schemes.”
The scheme will be finished to a high quality ‘Scape’ specification throughout, with emphasis on communal space for students to share and socialise with their immediate neighbours. Amenities will include a large break-out reception area, laundry rooms and outdoor area. Scape is one of the largest devlopers and operators of PBSA globally with over 30,000 beds in operation and development across the UK, Australia and the USA.
Adam Brockley, Founder and Global CDO at Scape, added: “We are delighted to have completed another deal with Investec and continue to be impressed with the speed with which they can transact in complicated situations.”