REAL ESTATE - The Universities Superannuation Scheme is among the institutional backers for a new £515m (€764m) student accommodation fund being launched by real estate firm Unite Group.
Unite said the new UK Student Accommodation Fund is a new open-ended property fund "focused on owning and acquiring UK direct-let student accommodation".
It added that £266m in equity commitments have been received from USS, Henderson UK Property Fund, ING Real Estate Investment Management, Morley Fund Management, Schroders Property Investment Management, Trafalgar House Pension Trust, CBRE Investors Global Multi Manager, Cushman & Wakefield Investors and DTZ Investment Management.
It said: "Unite believes that the fund will be Europe's largest unlisted specialist student accommodation investment vehicle."
Further third party capital was expected to be committed prior to mid-December.
The company added it would immediately release "significant capital tied up in mature, stabilised assets for investment, over time, in new, higher added value development activity". It would also provide more growth capital in the medium term.
Chief executive Mark Allan said: "The formation of the UNITE UK Student Accommodation Fund represents an important strategic step for UNITE.
"It will release significant capital for investment in new, higher added value development activity and provide more growth capital to UNITE in the medium term.
"At the same time it allows us to maintain long term management of the assets sold to the Fund through our position as fund and asset manager which will also provide a new and valuable management fee stream.
"We are delighted to have attracted a group of leading investors to invest alongside us in the formation of the Fund. The Fund will enable them to access the long-term stable investment returns that we expect the asset class to deliver.
"This transaction unquestionably establishes student accommodation as an institutionally recognised property asset class.'