The University of Sussex and Balfour Beatty, the international infrastructure group, have reached Financial Close for a new student accommodation project on the institution’s campus which will provide bedrooms for 2,117 students, together with new student amenities and a Students’ Union building.
Balfour Beatty was appointed as preferred bidder for the project in January 2015 and since then, alongside the University, has worked to secure detailed planning consent for the development.
Balfour Beatty will invest equity of almost £23 million (80% of the project equity) and will design, build, and operate the new residences for 50 years with the University acting as a co-shareholder investing circa £5.7 million (20% of the project equity) and continuing their delivery of pastoral care and student administrative services.
University of Sussex Finance Director, Allan Spencer said, “We are delighted at the response of investors to the University’s long term strategy and the funding structure developed with Balfour Beatty.”
“The bond allows the East Slope Residences project to proceed and facilitates a key element of the University’s strategy to accommodate more students on our campus and to provide high quality residences with more social space and amenities.”
“The University has invested over £200 million in the last few years to redevelop our campus, with both landmark academic and residential facilities, as we continue to reinforce our position as one of the UK’s leading higher education institutions.”
Balfour Beatty Investments Director, Ian Woosey, said, “Balfour Beatty is delighted to have formed a strong partnership with the University and secured this level of funding. We believe the fact that a bond of this size was able to achieve such attractive pricing demonstrates the underlying strength of the sector.”
“We look forward to providing the additional high-quality residences for the students at the University of Sussex, whilst maintaining the character of the natural landscape of the campus on the edge of the South Downs National Park.”
The financing of the project represents the largest UK wrapped inflation linked bond, post the financial crisis.
The first phase of additional accommodation is expected to be ready for the start of the 2018/19 academic year.
Balfour Beatty has achieved considerable success in the student accommodation market with an investment portfolio of nearly 5,000 beds in development or operation in the UK.
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Notes to editors:
- Founded in 1961, the University of Sussex is among the leading research intensive universities in the UK. Ranked in the top 20 for all UK League Tables, it also rates highly in international rankings.
- The University of Sussex has more than 16,000 students and 2,500 staff, from more than 120 countries. The University has counted among its faculty three Nobel Prize winners, 13 Fellows of the Royal Society, six Fellows of the British Academy and a winner of the prestigious Crafoord Prize.
- International in its outlook and interdisciplinary in its approach, Sussex is based on a single campus designed by Sir Basil Spence, in rolling parkland between the seaside city of Brighton and Hove and the South Downs National Park. Sussex research tackles major world issues, with leading areas of expertise such as climate change and development studies.
- Balfour Beatty Investments is a global infrastructure investor operating in the UK, US and Canada. We provide the investment capability to deliver complex infrastructure projects. Over the past 22 years, Balfour Beatty Investments has established itself as one of the largest investors in the PPP industry, building a portfolio of 69 projects worldwide, predominantly in the UK and North America.
- In recent years, Balfour Beatty Investments has diversified into new markets including student accommodation, private rental sector housing (multi-family housing in the US) and generation and transmission of renewable energy. We have recently expanded our approach from a PPP contractor to a broader developer and investor.
- Balfour Beatty is developing a leading position in the higher education market, delivering a broad portfolio of infrastructure projects. These include student accommodation, academic facilities, arenas and other campus projects. Working with various universities, local communities and local supply chains, Balfour Beatty delivers high quality, sustainable accommodation that enhances the student experience, whilst also offering full-service residential property management. Clients benefit from the close working relationship between the investment, construction and management service teams, meaning Balfour Beatty can offer customised solutions for each college, university and their students.
- Our current portfolio comprises student accommodation projects in the UK and US, providing 6,248 beds across 11 projects. These include the £63m University of Edinburgh Student Accommodation and Outreach Centre, a 50-year project which will be the focal point for the university’s community-based teaching activities and continuous professional development courses. The project was recently awarded three awards: Best Student Housing (CUBO Awards 2016), University Halls of Residence (Property Week Awards 2016) and Student Accommodation Development of the Year (Scottish Property Awards 2017). In the US, our portfolio includes a $110m recreation, residential and retail development for Florida Atlantic University, which is a 10-year project to provide two student housing spaces called Innovation Village Apartments. Current projects also include the University of Sussex’s £120m East Slope project which is part of an investment programme to modernise and improve the University’s campus, providing more than 2,000 new bedrooms as well as a new Students’ Union and social facilities. We are also providing contemporary accommodation for over 1,000 students and enhancing the learning and communal facilities as part of a £45m project at Aberystwyth University.