The Board of Empiric Student Property plc (ticker: ESP), the owner and operator of premium student accommodation across the UK, is pleased to announce that the Group has acquired, on an unconditional basis, the freehold of the former St Mary’s Hospital (the “Site”) in Bristol for £8.08 million (excluding costs).
The current site comprises a 3,400 sq m former hospital building and 65 car parking spaces. The Company is in the process of preparing a planning application for a 100+ bed premium student accommodation development. The scheme will comprise a mix of studios, two bed apartments and townhouses with a generous amount of student amenity space including a central reception area, large common and games room, work and reading rooms, a gym and offices. The Company is targeting the commencement of development works in Q3 2018.
The St Mary’s Hospital site is located on the edge of the University of Bristol’s main campus in Clifton, adjacent to the well-known Clifton Triangle area popular with students. The Group’s two existing schemes (College Green and William and Matthew House) in Bristol are both within close proximity to the Site and are letting well for the forthcoming academic year. Hello Student® will market and manage the completed scheme in due course.
The City of Bristol attracts more than 40,000 full-time students to its two central universities. The University of Bristol is ranked 9th in The Times UK University Guide 2017 and comprises 20,290 full-time students in the latest HESA statistics for 2015/16. The University grew 21 per cent. in the five-year period to 2015/16, and has a strong applications to acceptances ratio for undergraduates through UCAS at 8.3 applications per place (6.6 nationally).
Paul Hadaway, Chief Executive of Empiric Student Property plc, commented “Bristol is a prime location for the Group, and the St Mary’s Hospital site is ideally situated to target students at the University of Bristol. The University is planning for significant growth across the city, and suffers from a shortage of good quality student accommodation. This will be Empiric’s third asset in Bristol, resulting in a portfolio serving circa 0.7 per cent. of Bristol’s full-time student population when complete, helping to relieve the city’s supply-demand imbalance. This acquisition is in line with Empiric’s investment criteria and returns profile.”