UK-focused real estate fund manager Moorfield is investing in a $40m student accommodation scheme.

The manager, on behalf of the value-add Moorfield Real Estate Fund IV fund, has entered into a development agreement with Melberry Developments for a 282-room University of Essex purpose-built student accommodation (PBSA) development in Colchester.

The scheme is expected to complete for the start of the 2023/24 academic year. Watkin Jones has been appointed as the contractor to deliver the scheme.

Ross Netherway, head of origination at Moorfield, said: “The PBSA sector has been one of our conviction calls for over 20 years, and despite the short-term disruption caused by the pandemic, the longer-term demographic drivers remain hugely favourable.

“The University of Essex faces a critical supply/demand imbalance of high-quality student accommodation, which underpins our confidence in the future success of this scheme.”

David Sarson, managing director of Melberry Developments, said: “We are delighted to be working with Moorfield to deliver this exciting first development in our planned pipeline together.

“Our alignment in quality and ESG objectives made agreeing the outcomes of the partnership clear from day one and we look forward to completing a fantastic asset.”

Shoosmiths and Bidwells advised Moorfield. Clyde & Co advised Melberry.

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