AXA IM Alts debuts in London student market

Global investor AXA IM Alts has acquired Vita Student Lewisham Exchange, a 758-bed purpose built student accommodation (PBSA) scheme in Lewisham, Southeast London.

Financial details were not disclosed.

The acquisition, on behalf of clients, has been made from Vita Group, which has developed nearly 10,000 beds in the UK since 2012 and who has been retained as the assets’ operator under its Vita Student brand.

The transaction represents AXA IM Alts’ first PBSA acquisition in London.

Stuart Carr-Jones, head of UK, Ireland & Emerging Europe Transactions, AXA IM Alts, commented: 'We have a high conviction in the UK PBSA sector, reflecting its structural and demographic drivers, as well as countercyclical characteristics, with the latter in particular borne out during the recent periods of economic disruption.

'Partnering with a leading UK operator, this is a best-in-class scheme with a diverse mix of domestic and international students, in a well-connected location in what is one of the world’s leading higher education clusters.

'Furthermore, its environmental credentials are aligned with our strong belief in the importance of both minimising a building’s carbon footprint and the tenant wellbeing offering when considering all our real estate investments.'

Constructed in 2021, the scheme comprises a mix of studio and cluster rooms across 35 storeys. Resident amenities including a large gym, private dining rooms and lounge areas, and private and communal amenity space, as well as views over the City of London.

Especially popular with international students, it has achieved 100% occupancy since opening at the start of the 2021/22 academic year. In line with AXA IM Alts’ global sustainability strategy, the building is targeting a BREEAM Excellent certification and is EPC rated A.

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