Zenzic Capital launches £500 UK PBSA strategy

Zenzic Capital launches £500 UK PBSA strategy

Zenzic Capital has launched a new UK purpose-built student accommodation (PBSA) strategy with a target portfolio GDV of over £500 million.

The strategy, through which Zenzic will invest in existing stock and develop new assets, will help address the UK’s acute shortage of high-quality PBSA.

This new strategy has been seeded with the acquisition of five major schemes with a total GDV of over £147 million through a joint venture with Torsion Group, the Leeds-based residential developer, contractor and operator.

The JV is targeting a total portfolio GDV of over £250 million across seven schemes and will deliver a much needed 1,566 rooms by the end of this year.

Knight Frank estimates there are currently 95,000 new beds in the planning pipeline, significantly below the 263,000 additional full-time undergraduates anticipated between now and 2030.

The first five schemes with Torsion, which are all in Russell Group university locations in some of the UK’s most popular student cities. Once completed the five assets will comprise 817 beds and include ensuite bedrooms; social, fitness and wellbeing spaces; study zones; and recreational areas.

Two of these schemes, which are located in Leeds and Nottingham, are newly built and already fully let. The other three are new developments in Warwick, Nottingham and Leeds, which are already under construction.

The three new developments will be delivered by Torsion in time for the start of the 2025/26 academic year. In line with both parties’ focus on ESG, sustainability is central to the design and construction of all five schemes, with the three new developments targeting a minimum BREEAM Very Good rating.

The completed assets will be operated by Torsion-owned LUNA Students, a specialist operator providing a first-class service to students and building owners, with wellbeing and sustainability at the forefront of its offering. LUNA Students recently achieved three-star Fitwell certification on its 290-bed development in Birmingham in recognition of its strategies to optimise tenant health and satisfaction within its buildings.

This is Zenzic’s second transaction within its wider special opportunities strategy which targets growth-led situations alongside more tactical financings to capture compelling opportunities across the business cycle.

Nadine Buckland, CEO of Zenzic Capital, commented: “The UK student accommodation sector is underpinned by a number of highly attractive tailwinds including growing student numbers, an acute shortage of high-quality supply and an inflation-protected income profile that enhances returns for our investors against a challenging wider macroeconomic backdrop. We have already established a strong track record in the PBSA market, and this strategy enables us to increase our exposure to a sector that is one of our most compelling conviction calls.”

“As part of this strategy, we look forward to building on our longstanding relationship with Torsion through this joint venture as we work together to deliver a best-in-class, sustainable product that meets the needs of modern students.”

Dan Spencer, CEO of Torsion Group, said: “Having worked with Nadine Buckland, CEO at Zenzic Capital for over eight years, I am excited to form a joint venture and partner with them in the delivery of this current pipeline. Our strong relationship with Zenzic made forming the joint venture seamless, and we look forward to doing many more deals together. The partnership gives us a strong foundation to scale and accelerate our growth in the PBSA sector.

“We are actively taking measures to reduce our embodied carbon emissions on all our developments. That is because sustainability remains at the forefront of our strategy and decision-making as we look to play a leading role in delivering decarbonisation across the construction sector.”