Watkin Jones plc – Forward sale of 599 bed PBSA scheme in Wembley

Watkin Jones plc – Forward sale of 599 bed PBSA scheme in Wembley

Watkin Jones plc (AIM:WJG), a leading UK developer and constructor of multi-occupancy residential property assets, with a focus on the student accommodation and build to rent sectors, announces that the Group has completed the forward sale of a purpose-built student accommodation development in Wembley to the real estate investment business of DWS. 

The consideration payable to Watkin Jones over the course of the development will be approximately £90 million, net of all client funding and acquisition costs.  The scheme is expected to deliver a margin in line with target returns and is scheduled for delivery in time for the start of the 2021/22 academic year.  The completed scheme will be managed by Fresh Student Living, the Group’s PBSA asset manager.

The Wembley PBSA scheme has a planning consent for 599 high quality purpose designed student beds with associated amenity and management space.  It also includes a retail offering and substantial landscaped external communal area.   

The PBSA scheme forms part of a wider mixed-use site, which also includes the previously announced 300 build to rent apartments and associated underground car park which the Group is contracted to develop for Kelaty Propco Limited (a joint venture ultimately owned by Singaporean incorporated Lum Chang Holdings Limited and Sin Heng Chan (1960) Private Limited).  The development site forms part of the continued Wembley regeneration story and showcases Watkin Jones’ expertise in assembling, structuring, constructing, funding and operating complex and high profile urban centre projects.

Richard Simpson, Chief Executive Officer of Watkin Jones, said: “We are delighted to partner with DWS in the forward sale of our Wembley PBSA scheme.  The Wembley regeneration story is remarkable and it is firmly established as a destination of choice by students for their accommodation. It is significant that a global institution has invested in their first student accommodation scheme in the UK by partnering with Watkin Jones for both the development and then the management of the asset.  Our track record in developing into the robust UK PBSA sector is well proven as this transaction highlights.  We look forward to deepening our development pipeline and leveraging our expertise further.”

Mike Hill, Head of Real Estate Transactions, UK & Ireland for DWS, said: “The purchase of Kelaty House is DWS’s first UK PBSA acquisition and as such represents a significant step forward in our strategy to invest into the ‘beds’ sector in the UK & Ireland.

Kelaty House is an ideal first acquisition for DWS. It offers scale and is located in the regeneration area of Wembley, which is fast becoming a vibrant hub for students and will benefit from the strength of London’s student housing market.”

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