Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Lancaster CityBlock properties sold

CityBlock 3 on Penny Street


Family-owned CityBlock has sold its Lancaster student properties in a £26.5m deal with investment group Empiric Student Property that also includes accommodation blocks in Leicester.

The Lancaster portfolio comprises three blocks on Penny Street. CityBlock 1 has 30 beds, CityBlock 2 has 77 beds and CityBlock 3 has 100 beds.

CityBlock will continue to manage the sites on behalf of Empiric who also recently snapped up student accommodation in Durham and Huddersfield in deals worth £5.1m and £11 million respectively.

Lancaster has a student population of around 22,700, of which approximately 25 per cent are post-graduate and 25 per cent international. All of the properties were fully let for the 2014/15 academic year, with 62 per cent of the rooms pre-let for 2015/16.

CityBlock 1 (constructed in 2003, on Penny Street) is a low-rise, multi-storey block which provides a total of 30 beds comprising 30 en-suite bedrooms with shared kitchen and communal areas. There is also a ground floor retail unit.

CityBlock 2 (constructed in 2004) is a low-rise, multi-storey block which provides a total of 77 beds comprising 52 en-suite bedrooms with shared kitchen and communal areas and 25 studios. There are also two retail units that are let to Cartridge World and Subway on the ground floor level.

CityBlock 3 (constructed in 2012) is a low-rise, multi-storey block which provides a total of 100 beds comprising 57 en-suite bedrooms with shared kitchen and communal areas, 10 studios and 33 en-suite beds in five townhouses. There is a retail unit let to Sainsbury on the ground floor.

"We are very pleased to have acquired this portfolio of five properties in Lancaster and Leicester," commented Paul Hadaway, chief executive of Empiric Student Property, "creating a very well-located, attractive and highly specified portfolio in two new top university cities for the group.

"The tenant mix at the properties, which have an excellent occupancy track record, reflects the group's target market of international and post-graduate students. The acquisition of this portfolio represents an efficient deployment of equity capital in one transaction. The acquisition is in line with Empiric's investment criteria and returns profile."

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