Star Asia enters Japan student housing with GSA

The Tokyo-based real estate investment management firm has acquired a 50 percent stake in GSA Group’s Japanese student accommodation platform.

Tokyo-based real estate investment management firm Star Asia Group has entered the Japanese student housing sector through a partnership with Global Student Accommodation (GSA) Group.

Star Asia has acquired a 50 percent stake in GSA’s Japan platform and set up a 50:50 joint venture called GSA Star Asia KK.

The London-headquartered student housing developer and operator GSA has been active in the Japanese student housing sector since April 2015 and has two student accommodation projects under management.

The firm has now transferred these existing assets in Japan to the JV, which includes the Hakusan, Tokyo development project which GSA acquired in August last year to develop 364 student accommodation beds comprising a total floor area of approximately 48,437 square feet.

Star Asia Group and two undisclosed institutional investors had provided equity capital for this project that is currently in the construction phase, according to a company statement. Additionally, GSA is also managing 350 beds on behalf of a Japanese university.

The joint venture partnership will target 20,000 beds for university students in Japan with GSA and Star Asia intending to invest around $200 million over the medium term.

Commenting on the partnership, Simon Loveridge, GSA managing director for Asia Pacific said: “We have been operating student accommodation in Tokyo for several years and also provide homes for Japanese students in other parts of the world. Japanese students are ready for this new concept in student communal living, built on high quality design and aimed at building a strong community of local and international students.”

He added that with Star Asia Group’s track record in Japan and GSA’s global experience in the sector, the firm is strongly positioned to build real scale across the Japanese market.

Star Asia was set up in 2006, and has invested over ?500 billion ($4.3 billion; 4 billion) in real estate related opportunities including properties, loans, securitised assets and companies.

GSA, founded in 2008 by Nicholas Porter, has been expanding its exposure in Asia Pacific over the last few years. In late, 2015 the firm appointed Victor Lor as its head of investment management in the region.