Hines enters Irish student housing market

Hines has expanded its student housing portfolio from the UK to Ireland with the acquisition of four prime assets in the centre of Dublin on behalf of a group of German pension funds.

The portfolio, which includes one operational asset and three schemes in various stages of development, has been acquired from ThreeSixty Developments, a leading student housing developer and portfolio company of funds managed by Oaktree Capital Management, L.P. (“Oaktree”). The transaction follows the successful sale of their operating platform, The Student Housing Company, and 7,100 bed UK portfolio in September. 

The combined four assets will deliver around 1,500 new beds for Dublin’s growing student population. The Binary Hub, located in the heart of the city, was completed in July 2016 and provides state-of-the-art accommodation across 470 beds. Developments in Dorset Street and Summerhill are due to complete in 2017 and 2018, providing 450 and 400 beds respectively. The fourth scheme in the portfolio, a development site on Cork Street, is subject to planning approval and could be delivered by 2019. The projects are intended to be held on a long-term basis once complete. 

The transaction represents the second major student housing deal Hines has executed this year, following the acquisition of six prime development sites across the UK from McLaren Property.

The expansion into student housing forms a key part of Hines’s current strategy of diversifying into new asset classes to build on its existing, established portfolio of office, retail, industrial and residential investments. 

Alex Knapp, Hines managing director responsible for student accommodation said:  “Ireland is an exciting growth market and we are pleased to have expanded our platform through this acquisition. We are already looking at further opportunities to growing our portfolio both in Ireland, the UK and elsewhere in Europe during 2017.” 

Brian Moran, senior managing director and Head of Hines Ireland, said:  “Dublin is home to four of Ireland’s eight world-ranking Universities and has a vibrant, dynamic student population. Demand for high-quality, safe, well-located accommodation is increasing. We are very happy to be a part of solving Dublin’s housing supply issues by taking over this platform and expect it to tie in well with our residential development plans.” 

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Bob Crompton, CEO of ThreeSixty Developments said: “We are proud of the facilities we have created for the people of Dublin, which will provide much needed housing supply in the centre of the city. I can think of no better organisation to deliver, manage and grow the student housing business going forward than Hines. Hines are a long term investor who have shown commitment to the sector and to Ireland so I am confident that Dublin will benefit greatly from this in the coming years” 

Justin Bickle, Managing Director of Oaktree and Chairman of TIO ICAV, said: “We are delighted to have completed this transaction with Hines and its pension clients. We first identified the opportunity in Irish student housing five years ago and since then we have worked closely with ThreeSixty to deliver a market leading portfolio of Irish student housing schemes in Dublin. TIO will continue to work with its local partners to deliver landmark office, residential housing and aparthotels in the Irish market and will remain active in the operational retail market.” 

Savills acted for Hines and JLL’s Corporate Finance and Alternatives teams represented ThreeSixty/Oaktree on this transaction.