US giant unveils £500m flats plans - including block in Sheffield

A US real estate giant has unveiled plans to invest £500m-a-year in student flats in the UK and Ireland - including a 250-bed development in Sheffield.

Saturday, 28th September 2019, 10:25 am
View of city from Park Hill flats.

Chicago-based CA Ventures is funding a scheme ‘adjacent’ to Sheffield University which is expected to be ready in two years’ time, at the start of the 2021/2022 academic year.

The company claims demand for purpose-built student accommodation in the UK significantly outweighs supply, where the current student-to-bed ratio is 3:1.

It also believes student numbers are expected to increase by 15 per cent between now and 2030, with a further boost from the recent government decision to extend residency rights for graduates from overseas to two years, from the current four months.

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The announcement is part of CA Ventures’ launch into Europe, which includes commitments of £200m-a-year in Spain, and £150m in both Portugal and Italy.

The project is led by Carlo Matta, head of Europe at CA Ventures.

He said: “Outside of the US, the UK is the largest destination for international students but remains severely under-supplied with purpose-built student accommodations.

“The UK Government’s recent extension to residency rights for international students, post-graduation, is a great signal to the global student community.”

The move comes as councillors in Sheffield have started to voice concerns about the rising number of student flats.

Last week, the planning board agreed plans for 77 student beds at Hodgson Street in the Devonshire Quarter but had some concerns.

Coun Dianne Hirst said: “We don’t know whether or not we have the demand for this. Students don’t contribute any income directly to the local authority. Why aren’t we developing cluster flats for adults who want to live in the community and we would get something out of it.”

Officer Sarah Hull said developers were asked to look at the market to see if their schemes were viable.

“We don’t have the evidence to say there’s too much student accommodation.”