Michelle Beaumont, Partner at Irwin Mitchell

National law firm @IrwinMitchell’s Real Estate Division has advised @Hartpury University and Hartpury College on their student accommodation expansion plans, in a deal worth around £17.5 million.

The further and higher education institutions have entered into a deal with Cityheart and a UK investment fund in relation to the Blackfriars development in nearby Gloucester city centre, which was acquired from Gloucester City Council. The property will form part of the larger Blackfriars student accommodation development at Ladybellegate Street, Gloucester.

The property will be used to create high-quality accommodation for Hartpury students off campus and provide an additional 190 beds in a modern living environment.

The building is due to open in September 2022 and will be an important addition to the portfolio of student accommodation for Hartpury students, who now number more than 4,000.

The Irwin Mitchell team was led by Real Estate Partner Michelle Beaumont, who heads the firm’s educational property sector, supported by a team of lawyers including Sam Knight (Real Estate Associate) and members of the firm’s commercial and construction departments.

Hartpury University and Hartpury College – based on the same 360-hectare campus – specialise in the agriculture, equine, sport and veterinary nursing sectors and have been delivering specialist education for more than 70 years.

This accommodation expansion is part of a programme of forward-looking initiatives at Hartpury, including new classrooms; a new enlarged University Learning Hub which will incorporate quiet study areas, library, small meeting rooms and social study space and a dedicated café;  and a new 350-space car park to accommodate the growth in student numbers.

In line with driving Hartpury’s move towards sustainability, the latter will feature electric charging points, bicycle storage and improved flora diversification to increase biodiversity.

Michelle Beaumont, Partner at Irwin Mitchell said:

“We are delighted to support the growth plans at Hartpury University and Hartpury College and to advise on this expansion for their student accommodation provision. Our understanding is that the number of new students has risen again amid near 100% approval for their Covid-19 measures and the planning permission for these new facilities, that will enhance the student experience.”

She continued, “Despite the short-term uncertainties posed by Covid-19, demand for quality PBSA in the UK is growing, supported by the UK’s well‐established status as a hub of higher education, and student numbers are predicted to rise.”

Overall demand for higher education in the UK is increasing. The number of students with confirmed place in a UK university increased by 4% for the academic year 2020/21 driven both by increase in domestic UK students’ enrolments, as well from international students from outside the EU. Based on enrolment figures for the academic year 2020/21 admission cycle, successful student placement from the UK and outside the EU increased by 4% and 9% respectively.

Irwin Mitchell’s Real Estate Housing Sector has advised on several high-profile schemes in the the sector, including Phase I of New Era Square Sheffield for New Era Developments and on

PBSA schemes for Select Property in Leeds, Southampton and Birmingham under its brand Vita Student. In November 2020, Irwin Mitchell advised an overseas investor on the acquisition ofstudent accommodation in Bristol for £39.3 million.

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