Crosslane Student Developments begins construction of 391-bed student housing development Howard Gardens in Cardiff in joint venture with Harrison Street Real Estate Capital LLC

Howard Gardens in Cardiff External

Crosslane Student Developments, part of the Crosslane Property Group, is pleased to announce that construction has commenced on its 391-bed purpose-built student accommodation (“PBSA”) development located at the northern end of Howard Gardens in Cardiff.  This property represents the fifth development under Crosslane’s joint venture (“JV”) with Harrison Street Real Estate Capital LLC (“Harrison Street”).

The JV, announced in January 2018, was initially comprised of four new PBSA housing developments in Leeds, Coventry, Portsmouth and Swansea. The addition of Howard Gardens in Cardiff brings the total gross development value to approximately £180 million across a combined portfolio of 1,685 beds.

Investec Structured Property Finance is providing £19.4 million debt financing for the development of the new Cardiff scheme, in addition to the £59 million it is already providing for the development of the Coventry, Portsmouth and Swansea schemes.

Crosslane will act as development manager for the JV to oversee construction of the Howard Gardens site to ensure it is completed on time, ahead of the 2020/21 academic year, and to budget. Prime Student Living, the award-winning student accommodation lettings and operational management arm of the Crosslane Property Group, will be responsible for achieving full occupancy prior to practical completion and will continue to manage the building thereafter.

Cardiff’s 50,000 strong student population has continued to increase ahead of the national average for several years, with growth from international students in particular. As a result, the city has a significant shortage of suitable PBSA and is not keeping up with this growing demand.

Crosslane Student Developments secured planning consent earlier this year to build a PBSA development, focused on shared cluster flats between four to eight bedrooms, where several students live and share a kitchen and living room. This design facilitates and fosters close friendships and the social experiences of being part of a community. Beyond providing rooms at more affordable prices it enables the discovery of new cultures and enriches the student experience. The building will also include a range of high-quality communal facilities, including amenity spaces, study hub and gym as well as superfast 100MB WiFi throughout the building. In addition, students will benefit from free to use washer dryers in every kitchen, rather than a central laundry they have to pay for separately, providing further improved value and convenience.

The development will be constructed to the highest architectural standards. It will be BREEAM (Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method) certified, which denotes the scheme will meet high standards of sustainability and achieve ongoing operational efficiency, plus numerous other environmentally conscious design features and construction methods.

The wider plans include several landscaped, green open spaces for local residents to enjoy and a new public coffee shop to be built on the ground floor of the building, facing Howard Gardens park. The development will complement the Council’s existing local improvement plans, which include restoring and enhancing the park on the southern end of the square.

Located in Adamsdown, the building project is ideally placed for students due to its close proximity to city centre amenities and a number of key university campus sites, such as the Cardiff University Engineering Block and the University of South Wales. The scheme will encourage residents to walk, cycle or use public transport since it is within easy walking distance to most of the university buildings in the city. A large indoor secure bicycle storage facility will also be provided to further dissuade the need for car ownership, thus, preventing additional traffic and parking congestion.

Boyes Rees are the architects and RGB Group have been appointed as contactors for the development.

Walker Morris acted as legal counsel for Crosslane and DLA Piper LLP acted as legal counsel for Harrison Street.

David Smith, Managing Director at Crosslane Student Developments, said:

“We are very pleased to have construction underway on Howard Gardens, our fifth development within the Harrison Street JV and a rare type of PBSA asset within the Cardiff market. Howard Gardens is a cluster flat focused design, which gives students in Cardiff much needed and better value accommodation. It will help encourage students to be part of a community and share social experiences, while the majority of recent student accommodation developments in the city have been self-contained studio apartments. Its 391 beds will make a significant impact on easing the supply/demand imbalance for student accommodation in Cardiff, helping to free up private housing to rent for families and young professionals.”

Daniel Gorzawski, Managing Director & Head of Europe, at Harrison Street, commented:

“This is an example of Harrison Street’s strategy of aligning with best-in-class partners and identifying markets backed by strong demographics.  To that end, we are excited to continue our successful joint venture with Crosslane and invest in Howard Gardens, a high-quality student housing development with an attractive array of amenities and unique design specifications.

“Cardiff has a growing student population and we are confident Howard Gardens, which offers students great value, will be a highly sought-after destination for the long term.  We look forward to delivering this project on time and to budget and seeing it fully let in time of the 2020/21 academic year.”

Erin Clarke, Relationship Director at Investec Structured Property Finance, commented:

“This latest facility by Investec builds on its market leading experience and expertise within the purpose-built student accommodation sector, having committed over £500 million of funding to PBSA transactions during the last four years and supported the delivery of approx. 14,000 beds across the country.

“We continue to see demand for well-located, quality student accommodation schemes such as this one in Cardiff, in addition to the three developments on which Investec has already provided senior development loans. We look forward to seeing each asset thrive as they open their doors in 2019 and 2020.”