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New Build Student Development in Sheffield Goes for £10.7m

A student property firm has purchased the freehold to a Sheffield development for a total of £10.7m.

Portobello House, a new-build quality student accommodation scheme, has been acquired by Empiric Student Property plc. The site is located on Portobello Street, in the middle of the University of Sheffield campus and within walking distance of Sheffield Hallam University and the city centre.

The scheme consists of a combination of studios and 2-bedroom self-contained apartments, offering 134 beds in total. Also included is student communal space.

Construction on the property will be carried out on Empiric’s behalf by GHL (Portobello) Limited, a joint venture between Galliard Homes Limited and Visage Properties Limited. All work will be done in accordance with Empiric-supplied specifications.

The total amount required to complete the development will be invested in stages laid out by project milestones. During this period, Empiric will be paid an income return by the developer on funds invested throughout the construction period.

Paul Hadaway, Empiric Student Property chief executive, said that the forward-funded project represents the firm’s initial investment in Sheffield, which is a popular destination city for students.

Mr Hadaway said that the University of Sheffield has over 26,000 students with a substantial proportion of overseas and post-graduate students. It ranks among the top 30 universities in the country.

Sheffield Hallam University has over 33,000 students, many of whom are post-graduate. Mr Hadaway said that the development site is ideally located and the scheme is expected to create considerable returns in line with all state investment guidelines.

Construction on the student accommodation is due to be completed by July 2016, in time for the 2016 / 17 university year. Marketing will begin this November.

Earlier in August, Empiric acquired the freehold of The Registry, a high-quality student accommodation scheme converted from the former Portsmouth Land Registry Office. Currently owned and developed by REL Portsmouth Limited, practical completion is scheduled for this September, in time for the 2015 / 16 academic year.

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Located at the center of the Portsmouth University campus, The Registry is close to the harbour as well as bars, restaurants, and transport links. The property is being developed to a high specification and consists of 41 self-contained studio flats of different sizes, along with communal student facilities.

Around the same time, the firm agreed to acquire the freehold of a section of a site off Forthside Way in Stirling. Empiric representatives confirmed that the company wants to develop a 200-bed premium student accommodation at the University of Stirling, with housing consisting of a mix of studios and apartments.

Last December Empiric, which raised £85m in an initial public offering, purchased Algernon Firth in Leeds for £7.2m.

The building, which is within walking distance of the city’s two universities, features premium student accommodation facilities in a converted Grade 2-listed property. It has 111 beds in a combination of large loft studios and ensuite flats, as well as dedicated study areas and a fully-equipped gym.


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