The Board of Empiric Student Property plc (ticker: ESP), the owner and operator of student accommodation across the UK, is pleased to announce that the Group has acquired the freehold of a 240 bed student accommodation property in Southampton, the Emily Davies Halls of Residence (the “Property”), for £10.6 million (excluding costs).
The Property comprises affordable student accommodation configured in three and four bed apartments with 65 commercially let car parking spaces. This popular Property is fully occupied and leased by Southampton Solent University (“SSU”) on a Full Repairing and Insuring basis until September 2019 with the rent subject to annual RPI increases. Following the expiry of the lease, Empiric intends to direct let the Property.
There are two universities in Southampton, both with major investment programmes underway, and the City has a growing full-time student population of approximately 32,400.
The Property is located on the edge of the City centre within a 10-minute walk of SSU’s main campus. Empiric’s two existing buildings in Southampton, Brunswick House (173 beds) and London Road Studios (46 beds), are also within a 10-minute walk. The University of Southampton has a regular bus service that stops outside the Property, taking students to the University’s Highfield campus.
Post-acquisition, Empiric will own 459 beds in Southampton amounting to approximately 9% of Southampton’s private PBSA.
Tim Attlee, Acting Chief Executive of Empiric Student Property plc, commented:
“As envisaged in the Company’s 2025 Plan, adding affordable accommodation to Empiric’s existing studio stock in the City widens the rental range offered to students and allows cross-selling between accommodation formats. The Property will also contribute to a reduction of the Company’s per-bed operating costs in the City. The investment is immediately income producing and in line with Empiric’s investment criteria and returns targets.”