GSA and Harrison St ramp up European expansion with €750m Spanish JV

Global Student Accommodation Group (GSA) and Harrison Street are expanding their ongoing collaboration in European student housing markets with a €750m Spanish joint venture.

Student accommodation specialist GSA and real estate fund manager Harrison Street said they had agreed to acquire more than 10,000 student beds in top-tier cities in Spain.

The joint venture, which follows similar partnerships in the UK and Ireland, will initially add 8,000 new student rooms in Madrid and Barcelona to an 2,000-bed portfolio already established by GSA.

GSA has completed more than 2,000 student beds in Spain since entering the market less than two years ago, all run by its local operator Nexo Residencias.

In September this year, GSA and Harrison Street will open two new student communities in Barcelona. They say the city suffers from a lack of purpose-built accommodation, which is only available to about 10% of the student population.

Nicholas Porter, executive chairman at GSA Group, said: “Together with Harrison Street, we have rapidly created a strong first-mover advantage in Spain.

“With Harrison Street’s investment expertise and our unique student ecosystem, specialist hospitality management and operating credentials we are well placed for another winning partnership in both Spain and more widely in targeted areas across Europe.”

Rob Mathias, senior managing director at Harrison Street, said: “The Spanish student housing market is extremely attractive due to a lack of adequate housing options and outdated facilities for the 1.3m students in the country.

“We are excited to continue our long-standing relationship with GSA Group to bring our rigorous investment approach and combined student housing expertise to the growing Spanish student housing market through partnerships with proven operators and developers, and we look forward to continuing our growth together across Europe.”

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