New Urbanest London scheme to be financed by M&G

Urbanest is to develop one of the largest student housing schemes in central London, with £125 mln (€141 mln) of debt finance from M&G Investments.

M&G is providing the loan for Urbanest City which will include 650 student beds, 60,000 sq ft of offices to be known as The Luminary, and an incubator space for start-up businesses.

The scheme will be built on a site in Aldgate on the eastern edge of the City of London at the junction of Vine Street and Crutched Friars and will replace two office buildings, Emperor House and Roman Wall House, which Urbanest bought in early 2017.

The student accommodation will be for King’s College London students, let via a long-term nomination agreement. The space for start-ups will also be handled by the university through a lease to the King’s College Entrepreneurship Institute.

M&G Real Estate Finance's five-year loan will convert from a development to an investment facility once construction is complete, scheduled for 2021.

The project also incorporates Roman remains of a bastion tower and wall which will be made accessible to the public for the first time in a three-storey gallery and museum plus cafe.

Vicky Skiner, Urbanest’s CFO, said Urbanest City was the London student housing specialist’s most ambitious mixed-use development to date, with ‘a unique blend of student housing, heritage, innovation, commerce and leisure.’

M&G has completed £775 mln of new financings this year so far. The manager previously lent to Urbanest in 2016 in a club with Aviva Investors, providing £350 mln in total to refinance five operational properties.

Adam Willis, associate director in M&G’s Real Estate Finance team, said the Aldgate project ‘provides our institutional investors with access to attractive returns secured again high quality real estate.’

This article first appeared in EuroProperty, the weekly publication of PropertyEU


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