Glasgow student halls and Paisley retail park change hands in deals totalling £139m

Two large-scale property deals totalling £139 million have been sealed in the west of Scotland signalling further confidence in the country’s investment market.

The student site on Kelvinhaugh Street will now be managed by Aparto, Hines student accommodation platform, and will be rebranded as Aparto Glasgow. Picture: Contributed

The biggest of the two deals sees international property firm Hines acquire a 607-bed student accommodation scheme in Glasgow for £72m.

The West End development, which currently boasts a 100 per cent occupancy rate, was completed in 2017 by Bricks Capital, a London-based property development, hospitality and management group. Among the student halls’ highlights are a 4K “ultra-high definition” cinema, residents’ gym, cafe, study rooms, football pitch and “festival zone” events space.

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The site, on Kelvinhaugh Street, will now be managed by Aparto, Hines’ student accommodation platform, and will be rebranded as Aparto Glasgow.

Hines noted that Glasgow has a full-time student population of 60,000 with the University of Glasgow currently undertaking a major investment programme that will create a new “world-class” campus at the heart of the city’s cultural quarter.

Jurrien de Koning, director of Hines UK, said: “The acquisition of high-quality existing student accommodation assets in top university locations will form an important part of our strategy.”

Peter Prickett, chief executive of Bricks Capital, added: “Our roll-out plan for the ‘true’ student brand remains as strong as ever, and this deal allows the acceleration of our brand in key locations around the UK, significantly expanding our presence.”

Meanwhile, property giant Hammerson has exchanged contracts for the sale of Abbotsinch Retail Park, Paisley to Ashby Capital in a £67m deal.

Located some five miles west of Glasgow, the park is fully let to retailers including B&Q, Dunelm and Tapi. Hammerson acquired the site in 2012 for £42m and has expanded it through phased developments, at a cost of £17m.

David Atkins, Hammerson’s chief executive, said: “Our absolute priority is to reduce debt, and with this deal we have exceeded our target of over £500m in disposals in 2019.

“We continue to progress negotiations on additional assets across the portfolio.

“Disposals enable us to prove the value of this business and strengthen our balance sheet, and also give us the flexibility to benefit from the opportunities that will arise in the coming years, particularly with regards to our City Quarters pipeline,” he added.