Goldman Sachs and Greystar Real Estate Partners have joined forces with London-based charity, Wellcome Trust, to launch a new student housing company, Vero Group.
The joint venture consolidates two of the UK’s student accommodation brands; iQ, owned by the Wellcome Trust, and Prodigy Living, owned by Goldman and Greystar, into one company with a nationwide presence.
The new company will provide accommodation to residents and university partners through its portfolio of 23,500 beds across 54 sites in the UK. iQ and Prodigy Living will continue to operate under their respective brands and the company will be headquartered in London.
“We now have the scale and resources required to meet the highest expectations of student and university customers alike through our on-going investment in the existing portfolio, by attracting retaining and motivating the highest calibre employees, and by pursing further growth opportunities,” commented Peter Pereira Gray, managing director of the investment division at the Wellcome Trust.
The joint venture will consider development opportunities as well as buying existing assets in a bid to build the UK’s leading student accommodation provider.
Greystar also owns another UK-based student housing company, Nido London, which the Charleston-based firm acquired from Round Hill for £600 million (€842 million; $903 million) last April.
UK student housing received substantial investment from North American investors last year. For example, in March, CPPIB entered the UK market with the acquisition of Liberty Living, one of the UK’s largest student accommodation providers, for £1.1 billion. The pension plan then added another UK portfolio for £330 million in August.
A report from law firm Addleshaw Goddard, published last month, estimated a record £6 billion was invested in private UK student accommodation in 2015, more than the equivalent figure for North America.