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GSA enters US market through acquisition of 8,000 beds student housing platform across 27 assets

Global Student Accommodation Group (“GSA”) the international leader and pioneer in purpose built student accommodation (PBSA) has today announced the acquisition of twenty seven US based properties from UCAL, the joint venture with University Communities LLC (‘University Communities”) and the California State Teachers Retirement Fund (“CalSTRS”). This transaction accelerates GSA’s growth ambitions by adding 8,000 beds across 19 cities and 18 states from coast to coast in the US. Price is not disclosed.

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, said, “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.

Education is a life choice for students and their families, at GSA we can now offer true global access to safe, secure and engaging communities that fit the demands of today’s student”.

Randy Fein, Co-founder of University Communities LLC, said “This is a great transaction for the team at University Communities. It is also a significant milestone for the student housing industry as we were one of the first institutional players in the sector”.

Lee Ryder, Co-founder of University Communities LLC, said “We are passionate about the business that we have built and we have therefore been determined to choose a company that shares our values and resembles the culture of University Communities. Working together in partnership offers an opportunity to further develop on what we have accomplished over many years. We are looking forward to a new and accelerated acquisition and development program with GSA”.

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% 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, N.A. agenting the senior loan. The transaction was brokered by TSB Capital Advisors, 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.

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