AXA IM Alts has added a 758-bed student accommodation scheme in Southeast London to its UK residential portfolio.

The €184bn global alternative investments asset manager, investing on behalf of clients, has paid an undisclosed sum to buy Vita Student Lewisham Exchange in Southeast London.

Vita Group, the developer of the purpose-built student accommodation, has been retained as the assets’ operator under its Vita Student brand. Vita Student Lewisham Exchange was constructed in 2021 and comprises a mix of fully equipped studio and cluster rooms across 35 storeys.

Stuart Carr-Jones, head of UK, Ireland and emerging Europe transactions at AXA IM Alts, said: “We have a high conviction in the UK PBSA sector, reflecting its structural and demographic drivers, as well as countercyclical characteristics, with the latter in particular borne out during the recent periods of economic disruption.

“Partnering with a leading UK operator, this is a best-in-class scheme with a diverse mix of domestic and international students, in a well-connected location in what is one of the world’s leading higher education clusters.

“Furthermore, its environmental credentials are aligned with our strong belief in the importance of both minimising a building’s carbon footprint and the tenant wellbeing offering when considering all our real estate investments.”

The deal represents AXA IM Alts’ first purpose-built student accommodation acquisition in London. AXA IM Alts manages over €25bn of residential assets globally, including over €3.5bn of student accommodation assets, spread across eight countries.

Max Bielby, chief operating officer of Vita Group, said: “We’re excited to establish a relationship with AXA IM Alts, agreeing the sale of our flagship Vita Student London residence. In securing this deal, it provides the business with the capital and the confidence to continue to develop the Vita Group platform, with an ever-increasing future pipeline of projects.” 

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