Empiric to acquire 1-3 James Street West, Bath property on practical completion

The Board of Empiric Student Property plc (ticker: ESP) is pleased to announce that the Group has exchanged contracts to acquire on practical completion the long leasehold (125 years) on a site to be developed into a high quality turnkey student accommodation scheme on James Street West, in Bath, for a price of £7.65 million (excluding acquisition costs). Iesis Group is delivering the building and practical completion is expected in September 2016, in time for the 2016/17 academic year.

The property is located in central Bath between the Kingsmead Leisure Complex and Bath College, and within a short walk to Bath Spa railway station. It is equidistant from Bath’s two universities, the University of Bath and Bath Spa University, with a 20-minute bus journey to either campus. The property is also located on the same street as James House, the 169 bed development asset in respect of which the Group has also entered into a forward commitment arrangement (announced today), due to complete in September 2016. This should provide opportunities to achieve economies of scale through joint initiatives.

The proposed three-storey building, which will be an attractive new build behind an existing, listed façade, is being developed to Empiric’s high specifications and will include 78 en-suite bedrooms in 15 self-contained apartments, with communal facilities. The property will also have a ground floor retail unit that is being retained by the freeholder, Bath City Council.

Empiric will be responsible for the marketing and letting of the scheme for the 2016/17 academic year, with a marketing suite available from January 2016, and the new operations platform will continue to manage the property following practical completion.

Paul Hadaway, Chief Executive of Empiric Student Property plc, commented:

“This is the second commitment in Bath for the Company, following the forward commitment on James House also announced today. Once both developments complete in September 2016, Empiric will own a total of 247 beds in Bath. With a growing student population of some 20,000, which includes the highest proportion of international students outside London, a shortage of purpose-built student accommodation and restricted planning for new developments, these properties represent a great opportunity for the Group. This acquisition is in line with Empiric’s investment criteria and returns profile.”