One of the nation's largest providers of student accommodation has bought up Melbourne’s Whitley College, in its second deal this month, highlighting the company's expansion strategy across Australia.
GSA Group purchased the 130-bed student accommodation facility in Parkville - one of 12 colleges within the University of Melbourne - which was reportedly worth as much as $20 million. The deal marks a strong return to buying by GSA.Royal Parade close to the University of Melbourne’s main Parkville campus.
The apartments are close to the University of Melbourne, which will maintain the tenancy until the end of next year. GSP previously developed Urbanest.
The Parkville residences are currently owned and operated by Whitley College, a residential college of the University of Melbourne, which will continue operating the accommodation until the end of the 2017, when GSA will take ownership of the residence.
GSA will submit plans to refurbish and redevelop the property and, subject to development approval, will substantially increase the size of the 130-bed residence as well as enhancing the communal, social and study facilities.
The acquisition adds to GSA’s portfolio in Melbourne and forms part of a 1,500-bed pipeline secured by GSA this year in Australia.
Jon Whittle, GSA Australia’s Head of Real Estate commented "We are delighted with the progress of the pipeline across Australia with projects valued at more than $250 million secured across the region in a relatively short period of time. We continue to see the strong fundamentals in the student accommodation sector across the region and will continue to expand our portfolio in the coming months."GSA’s flagship development on Pelham Street directly opposite the University of Melbourne’s Law School, has development approval for 346 beds and construction work has begun with completion and occupation set for 2018.
The purchase comes as the company announces it is relocating its Asia-Pacific headquarters from Hong Kong to Sydney. GSA's Managing Director of Asia Pacific, Simon Loveridge, will move from Hong Kong to Sydney as part of the relocation.
The Hong Kong office will continue as GSA’s Investment Management base in the region led by Victor Lor, Head of Investment Management for Asia Pacific.