Real estate investor Round Hill Capital and Kuwaiti investment management company NBK Capital have acquired a 1.5-acre site in Cork for €10.3 million, which has planning permission for a 412-bed student accommodation development, with an opportunity to develop an adjoining site adding 142 beds, subject to planning.

The development is located five-minutes’ walk from University College Cork, The Cork Institute of Technology, and Cork city centre. The main site was a joinery warehouse that has been demolished and it will be ready for occupation in September 2022, in time for the 2022/23 academic year.

The project has a gross development cost of €83 million and is the fourth joint venture investment in the student accommodation sector for Round Hill Capital and NBK Capital, taking its current portfolio to almost 1,350 beds under development.

This is also Round Hill Capital’s fourth student accommodation investment in Ireland and, in partnership with NBK Capital, it plans further acquisitions to develop a 2,000-plus bed student accommodation portfolio. 

The development was designed by O’Mahony Pike Architects and will feature high-quality services and amenities, including a reception area, private dining room, gym/wellness room, study and games areas, laundry, bike storage, 24-hour security, Wi-Fi, year-round events programmes and landscaped outdoor spaces.

Nido Student will manage the development; the company currently operates 15 student residences in the UK with more than 5,000 beds.

Michael Bickford, founder and chief executive of Round Hill Capital, said: “We appreciate that areas of the student and residential housing markets in Ireland suffer from structural supply and demand imbalances and we look forward to helping alleviate these pressures and further expanding Round Hill Capital’s business in Ireland and across Europe.

“Now, more than at any time since the global financial crisis, institutional investors need investments that provide stability. Accommodation is one of the few asset classes that can offer truly resilient long-term returns in this environment providing the right investment, development and asset management strategies are employed.”

NBK Capital’s chief executive Faisal Al-Hamad added: “Cork is an attractive city with high-quality third-level education institutes, and we are delighted to be able to play a part in contributing to the city’s redevelopment and providing much needed student accommodation.”

Round Hill Capital said it expects to deploy new capital into other new residential housing projects, including student accommodation, multi-family, and retirement living in the near future.

Date published: 13 October 2020

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