The Kexgill Group, one of the largest still privately owned student accommodation specialists in the UK, has acquired 87 student houses from the University of Hull for an undisclosed eight figure sum.
The properties, which are located adjacent to the main University campus form part of the newly created “University Quarter” complementing Kexgill’s existing student halls in the city. The properties are subject to a four year hard nomination agreement.
Kexgill’s legal advice was provided by a team led by Philip Ashworth of Andrew Jackson Solicitors, including Helen Mellors and Grace Howell; ICG-Longbow was advised by the London office of Freeths LLP; and, Walker Morris acted for the University of Hull. Kexgill’s tax advice was provided by PricewaterhouseCoopers.
Under the terms of the deal, Kexgill secured significant debt funding from specialist Real Estate funder ICG-Longbow for the acquisition and refurbishment programme, which will take place over a five-year period.
Richard Stott, managing director of Kexgill, said: “We are proud to be working closely with the University of Hull, forming an effective partnership of which the purchase of these houses forms an essential part. It is all about improving the experience of students attending Hull be it through the University’s new build Halls or our refurbished properties adjacent to the campus. It is a dynamic changing market and students deserve a full range of price options for their accommodation to enjoy Hull at its best”.
Philip Ashworth, corporate partner at Andrew Jackson Solicitors, said: -“It is a delight to assist the team at Kexgill in a transformational transaction for their business; especially as it comes 25 years after my first instruction from Mike Lee at Kexgill. We wish them every success in this new stage in the growth and development of this significant Northern property success.”
Trudi Vout, director of Campus and Accommodation Services, said: “From a student perspective this is great news. Kexgill is investing a substantial amount of money in refurbishment which will only improve our student experience.
“What students expect in today’s Higher Education environment is changing rapidly and we see this as an opportunity to develop our accommodation offer to meet increasingly individualised requirements. The University is looking forward to further developing our relationship with Kexgill to deliver a really top quality living experience for our students.
“This arrangement will generate opportunities both to improve our accommodation stock and to improve the services and support we offer to our students through shared learning and collaboration.”
Richard added: “Research by Unipol has seen HMO rents rise in comparison to halls in large student cities such as Leeds. There is still a place for medium priced student accommodation in houses with recent new build in some cities just chasing the high end rentals from predominately international students.
“We see our business model combining HMO’s and small Halls as bridging the gap in providing more independent living for returning students. Our houses match halls for ease of booking, security, internet provision and often are more suitable for studying.”
Kexgill, which currently has nine branches throughout the UK as well as a presence in Germany, launched a five-year expansion programme in 2015 following a raft of awards that year, which saw the company being named Student Landlord of the Year in Leeds, Liverpool, Middlesbrough, Preston, Hull, Durham and overall in the North East of England. The firm’s total assets are valued in excess of £120 million.