Real estate fund manager Hines has teamed up with Blue Noble to develop a 600-bed student accommodation facility in Milan.

The investment is part of a joint venture between Hines and Blue Noble, an independent real estate investment group, and will be Hines’ first in a series of investments in student housing in the main Italian university cities, with Rome, Florence and Venice targeted alongside Milan.

The site is close to Bocconi University.

Hines said it will manage the asset through Aparto, its student accommodation operating platform, which currently operates 1,400 student beds in the UK and Ireland, with an additional pipeline of 3,600 beds across Europe.

Completion of the acquisition is expected to occur in May this year, with the development of the new scheme scheduled to begin in 2018 and anticipated to be completed by the end of 2020.

Lars Huber, the CEO of Hines Europe, said: “We are very committed to the student housing sector, and look forward to expanding our growing portfolio in many markets across Europe.

”Italy represents a key market and we expect this first acquisition through this joint venture with Blue Noble to mark the first of a series of investments in core cities across the country with growing and dynamic student populations.”

Mario Abbadessa, Italy country head for Hines, said: “Our goal is to provide innovative solutions to the different needs of students, foreigners and young professionals. Over the next two years, we aim to invest €500m in the main Italian university cities.”

Paul Forshaw, the CEO of Blue Noble, said: “We remain focused on gaining access to interesting investment opportunities in the UK and Europe on behalf of our investors and this venture alongside Hines, with whom we have strong and established historical connections, is a compelling case.”