The UK’s largest student accommodation owner Unite Students has acquired a 178-unit build-to-rent (BTR) property in Stratford, East London for £71m (€81m).

Unite Students said the acquisition of 180 Stratford will enable the group to test its operational capability to extend its accommodation offer to young professionals.

The property, which is expected to be refurbished, offers 319 beds across a mix of one, two and three-bed units, as well as 11,000sqft of commercial space. The residential units are currently 99% occupied.

The property adds to the group’s existing presence in the Stratford market, where Unite Students already operates 1,700 student beds and has two further student developments in its pipeline. The acquisition of 180 Stratford will increase Unite’s scale in the Stratford market to around 3,700 beds.

Unite Students said the acquisition and refurbishment will be funded from the proceeds of recent disposals.

Richard Smith, Unite Students CEO, said: “As previously outlined, we believe that there is an exciting opportunity to grow our platform in the wider living sector by catering to the growing number of young professional renters living in major UK cities.

“We already serve this market through the 9,000 postgraduate students who live with us each year. This pilot BTR investment offers the opportunity to test our operational capability in the sector and understand the potential synergies with our student business.”

Smith said the 180 Stratford has good redevelopment potential and benefits from Stratford’s growth as a major student, employment and leisure hub, as well as Unite’s local presence.

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