Get social and share

20 September 2017

Robertson Property announces institutionally funded development deal

Robertson Property announces institutionally funded development deal

Robertson Property is to redevelop St Leonard’s House, a grade II listed building located in the centre of Lancaster, as student accommodation in a £14.4m deal.

The institutionally funded development deal from Robertson Property, which was established 40 years ago, adds to its prime commercial portfolio throughout Scotland and the North East of England.

The development will convert the former council offices to create 179 student accommodation bed spaces. The development was granted planning and listed building consent in February 2017.

Robertson Property's funding partner, Knight Frank Investment Management (KFIM), have forward funded the development under their investment management mandate with Lancashire County Pension Fund, which is part of the pooled LGPS investments managed by Local Pensions Partnership. The property has been forward funded on the basis of a completion value of £14.34m reflecting a net initial yield of 6.0%.

The development will provide a combination of self-contained studios and en-suite cluster accommodation, along with extensive facilities including a communal kitchen, recreational area, and a gym.

Lancaster has circa 14,250 full-time students with 11,750 full-time students studying at The University of Lancaster (HESA 2015/16) and a further 2,500 full-time students understood to be studying at the Lancaster campus of The University of Cumbria. This development addresses the need for further high-quality purpose-built student accommodation, with just 681 purpose-built bed spaces currently offered by the private sector in the city.

The University of Lancaster is ranked 12th in The Times Good University Guide (2016) and the university attracts a large proportion of international students with 39% of its population from overseas (HESA 2015/16).

Elliot Robertson, Group Strategic Development Director at Robertson, said: "The development revitalises this historic building by retaining many of its original features while providing high-quality accommodation that will improve the city's current student accommodation offering."

John Styles of KFIM said, "Funding for the scheme will be provided by Lancashire County Pension Fund from an allocation it has made for investment in property located in the County of Lancashire. We are pleased to have the opportunity to regenerate a historic building and provide an important piece of property infrastructure which will further strengthen Lancaster's status as a top UK university town."

The development will be complete in time for the 2019/20 academic year. This is the first of a number of student accommodation projects that Robertson Property is looking to develop across Scotland and the North of England.

Dougray Smith advised Robertson Group and Bidwells and Colliers were retained as advisors to KFIM.