Empiric Student Property Plc (LON:ESP) reported today that it has acquired a site in central Bristol, which is to be developed into a prime, purpose-built student accommodation asset by regional property developer Urban Creation.
The site is located on Host Street, Clifton, and is within a five minute walk from University of Bristol's main city campus. The site is also very close to the company’s other student accommodation complex in Bristol, the 84 bed College Green. Empiric said that it expects that the proximity between its two properties will allow it to save costs by combining operations and thus achieving economies of scale.
The group intends the new property to comprise 75 beds, mostly in self-contained studios, and “high quality communal space”. The project will cost £7.85 million and is expected to be completed in time for the 2016/17 academic year, Empiric said.
"Bristol was one of the first cities in which the Empiric team invested and, with a student population of some 47,000, remains a target city for the Group,” Empiric’s chief executive Paul Hadaway commented. “This acquisition is in line with Empiric's investment criteria and returns profile."
Empiric’s shares had inched 0.19 percent higher to 104.95p as of 11:20 BST today. The company’s stock has gained about two percent year-to-date, and four percent on an annual basis.
The acquisition comes as a surge in student accommodation investment across the UK is expected in the coming years, caused mainly by the removal of a cap on the number of students that UK universities can accept annually.
"The student intake for 2014/15 was the highest ever and with the removal of the student number cap, there is likely to be sustained growth in student numbers in the longer term, while the supply of new accommodation is still struggling to keep pace with this growing demand,” The Unite Group said earlier in April.