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20. August 2012     Print Print 

Partners agree terms for the renewal of Bridges Hall at the University of Reading

student residences
The University of Reading and its specialist accommodation partner UPP have completed a deal that will see the redevelopment of student residences at the University of Reading’s Whiteknights Campus. The transaction will see a further £46m invested in the University’s estate and represents the final phase of the University’s Residential Master Plan. The redevelopment responds to increasing demand from students for high quality, affordable accommodation on campus and is due to become operational for the academic year 2014/15.

The Senior Lender on the transaction is Aviva Commercial Investors providing £46.4m of funding, with £9.7m of subordinated debt and equity raised by UPP and its investors. The University has taken an equity stake in the SPV. The concession period will run concurrent with the larger scheme (i.e. 125 years). The transaction will involve the renewal of Bridges Hall and will include the replacement of the existing hall of residence including a Junior Common Room, social space, a new warden’s flat, a launderette and hall offices. The scheme will provide a range of accommodation types to cater for different student requirements, including en-suite cluster flats, town houses, and economy cluster flats. Brookfield Multiplex has been appointed to deliver the construction contract. This contract is worth £23m.

The scheme has been designed with sustainability in mind and will achieve a BREEAM ‘Excellent’ standard for the residences. The redevelopment will incorporate a number of environmentally sustainable features, including roof top solar panels, energy efficient boilers and water heaters, energy metering facilities, and heat recovery ventilation systems. The University of Reading is one of the UK’s leading higher education institutions and is ranked among the world’s top 1% of universities according to the THE World Rankings 2011. David Savage, Chief Operating Officer for the University of Reading, said: “The quality of our accommodation provision as part of an excellent student experience plays a significant part in our ongoing success in attracting the most talented students to Reading. The replacement of the old Bridges Hall with a high-quality development that will meet exacting environmental standards and deliver an excellent student experience will complete our ambitious project to make student accommodation at Reading second to none in the sector.” Sean O’Shea, Chief Executive of UPP, said: “This deal brings forward the final stage of investment needed to complete the University of Reading’s residential master plan. This redevelopment represents a clear vision to improve facilities and enhance the student experience. Working in close partnership with the University of Reading, we have created a sustainable, affordable student accommodation scheme that meets the demand from students for a high quality environment in which to study, live and relax.”

The completion of the Bridges Hall transaction completes a pioneering deal which has provided over £275 million of investment into the University estate since December 2011. At practical completion UPP will operate nearly 5,000 rooms for the University as well as managing the University’s accommodation office. UPP is the leading provider of campus infrastructure, student accommodation and residential management services to the HE sector. Working in partnership with universities, UPP provides specialist residential management services, including facilities management. The completion of Bridges Hall will not add to the overall number of student bedrooms available to Reading students. The replacement halls programme has significantly updated the quality of student accommodation and concentrated University halls on the Whiteknights campus.
Fotos: Willmore Iles Architects