GSA enters US market with major 8,000 bed acquisition across 27 assets.

January 13, 2021 – Global Student Accommodation Group (GSA), a specialist in purpose built student accommodation (PBSA), has acquired twenty seven US-based properties from UCAL, the joint venture with University Communities and the California State Teachers Retirement Fund (CalSTRS).  This transaction adds 8,000 beds across 20 universities to GSA’s US portfolio.

GSA has also acquired the property management company (UComm) and has entered a forward arrangement with University Communities to work together in partnership on acquiring and developing future student housing properties in the US.

Will Rowson, Chief Executive Officer of GSA Investment Management, says: “Entering the US market and building a presence is another significant step for GSA. We have been patient to source the right opportunity that fits with our investment criteria and we are very pleased to have secured a major foothold across the country. We are confident this acquisition will enable us to develop significant scale, deliver on our investor promise and, most importantly, refresh the sector with our global student experience.

With over thirty years of experience GSA have driven a strategy in acquiring and developing branded student housing on a global scale. This is to meet the ever-increasing demand for Higher Education, which will continue to see unprecedented domestic and international growth over the coming decade.

GSA has pioneered the entry into multiple global higher educational markets and specializes in all aspects of the sector, including managing and operating student housing that offers a first-class student experience and promotes community wellbeing. Through its acquisition of UComm, GSA will manage and operate all properties across the portfolio, integrating the existing highly capable US based leadership and management team.

All properties in the portfolio are situated in prime locations next to major universities and research institutions. The properties continuously achieve in excess of 96 per cent occupancy and represent a platform for growth. GSA will seek to capitalize on their experience in the sector through unlocking strategic value and leveraging their ability to execute on future opportunities within the 20 million student populated US market.

Blackstone Real Estate Debt Strategies led the whole loan origination for the transaction, with Wells Fargo Bank agenting the senior loan. The transaction was brokered by TSB Capital Advisors with an assist from Saker Capital, and legal and tax advice was provided by Greenberg Traurig (GT) and McGuire Sponsel for GSA. Transaction advice to University Communities was provided by Institutional Real Estate Inc and The Principal Real Estate Investors with Haynes Boone providing legal advice.