Danish labour-market pension fund PensionDanmark is investing €200m in affordable student accommodation in a newly-developed wood-construction concept created in partnership with the Technical University of Denmark (DTU), with half of the sum already at work in two projects in Copenhagen and Aarhus.

The investments are the result of a public-private partnership established in 2016.

The first property to go up is a 478-unit student housing complex in the Copenhagen suburb of Lyngby, with total space of 17,500sqm, PensionDanmark said.

The first phase of this already complete and began accommodating new students this summer.

The pension fund has just signed the agreement with its partner, the university’s housing entity, Boligfonden DTU, to build another complex, which will be located in the suburb of Ballerup near the university.

This will have 10,685sqm of space and 299 units to accommodate 318 students.

The Ballerup property will be ready for occupation in two stages - August 2021 and December 2021.

PensionDanmark’s head of real estate Marius Møller told IPE Real Assets the pension fund’s investment in both of these projects totalled around €100m, and that following this, it planned to invest the same amount again in more student homes, repeating the design formula in both Copenhagen and Denmark’s second-biggest city Aarhus.

“We will be able to start up new projects in both cities in 2021 and 2022 once the local plan is complete,” he said.

The lead up to the first construction phase took some time, he said, because the plan involved changing a business area into a housing zone, which required a new local plan to be put in place.

The planned future projects would use the same sustainable and affordable concept the partnership had developed, he said.

Møller said the cooperation with DTU had added much value to PensionDanmark’s investment, with the university not only acting as tenant in the deal but also has enabled the pension fund’s real estate team to gain deep insight to inform the design.

“We asked more than 500 students how they would like to live in the future and we found out how can we work together with the university,” he said.

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