A UK purpose-built student accommodation (PBSA) provider, which until now has operated behind investment vehicles, has been launched under a new consumer brand – Student Roost.
The Birmingham-based business has an asset value of approximately £1 billion after buying up PBSA properties for four years under the RSRE (Rose Student Real Estate) investment vehicle. Student Roost is currently home to over 11,000 students in 12 university towns and cities. It has an operating portfolio of 28 properties across the UK. Its development pipeline of a further seven sites, totaling around 4,000 new beds, puts it on target to become the UK’s fourth biggest PBSA provider within three years.
Student Roost’s chief executive Tim Butler held main board directorships at GL Hearn and The Unite Group, and has over 20 years’ experience in the PBSA sector. Tim said: “There were a number of small developers who had switched primarily from residential development to become student housing developers through the recession, and their schemes were either being acquired by the larger student housing companies or operated by third-party management providers.
“This created a unique opportunity for us to consolidate a portfolio of high-quality student housing assets through acquisition. Although most of these third-party management parties operated the buildings competently there was scope for a more inspirational customer led and focused approach to deliver fantastic student welfare and experience in a safe and secure environment and make it a genuine home away from home.
“The Hollis Croft development in Sheffield is an excellent example of that in action. It’s part of a hugely exciting city and academic renewal. The 17-storey, 972-bed development actually reintroduces the Victorian street layout – but adds an ampitheatre. Students will have theatres, a cinema room, study rooms, relaxation areas and recreation areas including a Snookball facility – a nod to Sheffield’s snooker heritage.”
“Sense of community”
The colourful Student Roost ‘birdbox’ branding has been introduced to properties throughout the year, and a booking website was launched in November. Chief operating officer Nathan Goddard has over 10 years’ experience in PBSA, including senior director roles with Unite, Greystar and Student.com. He said: “The Student Roost brand will provide an affordable home-away-from-home with an emphasis on student wellbeing.
“Our focus is on retaining our residents throughout their university life. The perfect scenario is having customers recommend our properties to others. That means we need to offer value-for-money, 24-hour in-property support and facilities which promote a sense of community.”
Student Roost employs 35 staff at its Birmingham headquarters and over 200 in its properties.