Global Student Accommodation Group (GSA) has purchased five purpose-built student housing communities in Dublin totaling 1,971 beds. Harrison Street was the seller in the $440.2 million (EUR 400 million) transaction.
The properties, which achieve average occupancies of 97 percent, include Ardcairn House, Kavanagh Court, New Mill, The Tannery and Broadstone Hall. With the exception of Kavanagh Court Phase II, which is expected to be delivered in the first half of this year, all properties have been completed.
The housing is provided primarily to students at Trinity College Dublin, Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, TU Dublin Grangegorman and University College Dublin. The portfolio, which has experienced robust growth, is part of Harrison Street’s HSRE European Property Fund I that in 2015 raised capital commitments totaling EUR 235 million. Paired with the earlier realization of ECLA Paris and anticipated cash flow distributions, Fund I will have returned 106 percent of called capital to investors.
In December, Harrison Street added to its senior housing holdings with the acquisition of an 11-property portfolio in Maryland, New Jersey and Massachusetts.
“The portfolio was mainly comprised of development projects and it was always our intention to exit the projects after construction and stabilization (or) lease-up was completed,” Rob Mathias, Harrison Street senior managing director & head of international business, told Multi-Housing News. “We achieved full our goals ahead of schedule and as a result, delivered a very successful outcome for investors.
“Harrison Street remains enthusiastic about the attractiveness of the student accommodation sector in Dublin, as well as our long-term partnership with GSA and expect to have more announcements together in the near term.”
Growing regional demand
The properties were the initial investments under the Ireland joint venture of Harrison Street and GSA, in which the pair pledged to invest EUR 250 million to take advantage of the increasing regional appetite for top-quality student housing. On behalf of its investors, GSA will continue to manage the properties.
The sale of the student housing portfolio was a reflection of Harrison Street’s approach to maximizing investor value. The company develops and acquires individual assets, and after stabilizing them sells the assets as part of larger portfolios.