KKR, Round Hill enter Dutch student digs market with Utrecht project

US investment firm KKR has joined forces with Round Hill Capital to acquire a 3.1-ha site for the development of a new housing scheme in the Netherlands.

The companies, which are investing in the project alongside Stadium Capital Partners, bought the site from Ontwikkelings Combinatie Oudenrijn, a development joint venture between Van Beek & Partners Vastgoedbeleggingen, Veluwezoom Verkerk Vastgoedontwikkeling, DSO Deelnemingen and Icoon Vastgoed for an undisclosed sum.

The deal marks KKR and Round Hill’s first student housing transaction in the Netherlands and represents the two firms' first joint investment in Europe.

Round Hill is currently funding a pipeline of over 7,000 student accommodation beds across the UK, Ireland, the Netherlands, Portugal and Spain. The group is aiming to secure 20,000 student beds in these markets by 2020.
The newly acquired site, located between Utrecht Central railway station and the city’s business district, is expected to provide a total of 750 student housing units. It features a hospital building, which along with a new 23-storey building will provide 577 purpose-built student accommodation (PBSA) units. In addition, the scheme includes 173 residential apartments targeting young professionals. Once completed, the PBSA will be managed by The Nido Collection.

Track record
Commenting on the acquisition, Michael Bickford, founder and CEO of Round Hill Capital, said: 'Round Hill has more than a 12-year track record of successful investment and development as well as asset management expertise across residential real estate in Europe, and this transaction, alongside our other recent Dutch investments, significantly enhances our platform in the Netherlands, which remains a key focus of our strategy.

'This high-quality student and residential housing development scheme, our first student housing scheme in the Netherlands, will help to meet the continuing growing demand for housing within Utrecht. Round Hill remains committed to making further (re)development investments in the Netherlands and across wider Europe, whilst also continuing to look to make more investments in residential property in line with our existing strategy and growth plans.'
Upside potential
Seb d’Avanzo, director at KKR, commented: 'This is a high-quality development in an excellent location, and we see significant upside potential in the Netherlands, a market which exhibits strong growth drivers for student housing. KKR’s European real estate platform has a successful track record in executing partnership deals, and this acquisition represents an exciting first step in KKR’s partnership with Round Hill Capital. We look forward to working with them to expand our footprint in student accommodation and residential housing in select European markets.'

The transaction reflects the expansion of Round Hill’s residential, student accommodation and development strategies in the Netherlands. It follows the acquisition of the central Amsterdam office asset Ringpark for refurbishment and expansion, announced in June.

In February, Round Hill also acquired approximately 43,000 m² in Merwede Canal Zone in Utrecht to develop into a new urban neighbourhood. Over the past four years, Round Hill jointly with Stadium Capital Partners has established its residential investment and asset management platform in the Netherlands and has acquired more than 12,000 Dutch residential units throughout this period.

Wessels Rijssen and Veluwezoom Verkerk Bouw, both Volker Wessels companies, will be responsible for construction of the Utrecht student resi scheme. ING Bank will provide the financing. KKR is investing through its Real Estate European Partners fund.



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