Empiric to acquire student accommodation scheme in Canterbury
The Board of Empiric Student Property plc (ticker: ESP), the owner and operator of premium student accommodation across the UK, is pleased to announce that the Group has exchanged contracts to acquire the freehold of the Franciscan International Study Centre (the "Property") in Canterbury for £5.8 million (excluding costs). The acquisition is expected to complete on or around 9 August 2017.
The Property includes five standing townhouses for student accommodation with 50 beds (of which 27 are en-suite rooms) and a separate 16,200 sq. ft. building, all set in three acres of land with development potential. The Property is located at the edge of the main campus of the University of Kent which benefits from a 24-hour shuttle bus service between the university and the city centre. Hello Student® will manage the townhouse accommodation and will be marketing it for the 2017/18 academic year.
The Group is currently in pre-application discussions with Canterbury County Council regarding planning permission for a student accommodation scheme in excess of 325 beds to be developed on the Property. The scheme will consist of a mix of studios, two and three bed apartments and six bed townhouses, with a generous amount of student amenity space including a central reception area, large common and games rooms, work and reading rooms, a gym and offices. The Company is currently targeting the commencement of development works in Q3 2018.
Paul Hadaway, Chief Executive of Empiric Student Property plc, commented:
"Canterbury represents a prime opportunity for the Group with a low level of private accommodation serving the student market. The Property is ideally located to target students from the University of Kent, which is well regarded and has demonstrated strong growth over the past five years, including a 58 per cent. rise in postgraduate students and a 41 per cent. rise in international students. As well as generating revenue for the forthcoming academic year, the acquisition of the Property should enable the Group to develop a significant student accommodation scheme adjacent to this vibrant university and close to Pavilion Court, the Group's first Canterbury acquisition. This acquisition is in line with Empiric's investment criteria and returns profile."