Chicago-based CA Ventures (CA), a global investment management company, recently announced the launch of Novel Student, a ‘pioneering property management platform’ that will operate the firm’s portfolio of PBSA assets throughout Europe.
Novel’s first three communities, located in Glasgow, Edinburgh and Sheffield, together comprise 897 beds and are on schedule to be ready for the 2021-22 academic year.
“In early 2018, we announced our expansion into the European purpose-built student accommodation market and, since then, have developed a premium product that caters to the needs and aspirations of today’s students,” John Diedrich, global head of investments for CA, said.
“With an international student portfolio that includes more than 20,000 beds, CA understands how to pair thoughtful, sustainable design with best-in-class services and amenities to create dynamic residential environments with universal appeal. Novel takes that successful model and customises it for the fast-growing European market.”
At launch, Novel’s portfolio will include the following properties, all developed by CA:
• Hillside House, a 250-bed community at 86 Winter Street, Sheffield, near Sheffield University and Sheffield Hallam University
• Bridle Works, a 422-bed community at 350 Cathedral Street, Glasgow, close to the University of Strathclyde, University of Glasgow and Glasgow Caledonian University
• Silk Mill, a 225-bed community at 162 Dundee Street, Edinburgh, near Edinburgh Napier University and the University of Edinburgh.
Each Novel building will feature a range of shared amenity spaces designed to foster a sense of community among residents and facilitate a ‘well-rounded, live-work-play lifestyle’.
Offerings will vary by location, but amenities will include breakfast bars with complimentary coffee service, study and meeting rooms, tea lounges, and ‘abundant outdoor space’ featuring BBQs and pizza ovens.
Students can also unwind in relaxation rooms, exercise in gyms and other on-site wellness spaces offering fitness classes led by personal trainers, and socialise in one of Novel’s ‘no study zones’. This includes traditional and digital gaming rooms, dry bars, indoor and outdoor cinemas, karaoke lounges and glam rooms where residents can get ready for a night out.
Many common areas will feature customisable features such as dimmable lighting, integrated sound systems, video door entry systems and plug-and-play capabilities in meeting rooms, to offer a customer-focused, tech-centric approach to design.
Additionally, Novel residents will benefit from weekly planned social gatherings and career events, such as CV writing seminars and professional headshot sessions.
Each community will be staffed by an on-site property manager, leasing manager and dedicated team of community assistants, some of whom have mental health training to improve the level of service delivered to residents.
“We recognise that going off to university is an exciting but often stressful time for students, many of whom have never lived away from home,” Gina McMoran, managing director of sales and marketing for CA’s European portfolio, said.
“Knowing this, we have intentionally designed the living and amenity spaces at all Novel communities to be sophisticated yet warm and welcoming. This thoughtful approach reinforces our unwavering commitment to supporting the physical, social and emotional well-being of residents.”
Novel residences will feature en-suite boutique bedrooms, kitchens with dishwashers and integrated washers and dryers, private high-speed WiFi as part of an all-inclusive utility package, and access to shared rubbish chutes in lift lobbies – ‘a unique offering in the UK PBSA market’.
The Novel platform has a number of developments across its extensive European portfolio, with additional locations across Ireland, Spain, Italy and Poland confirmed for 2022 and 2023 deliveries.
Including those developments, as well as others throughout continental Europe, project starts are to total more than $1.1 billion through 2022.
CA will also provide third-party management services, allowing other PBSA investors to benefit from Novel’s comprehensive operational platform.
“Despite challenges created by the Covid-19 pandemic, we know the European PBSA market will prove resilient as demand for housing continues to outpace supply and a growing number of students pursue a global education,” Carlo Matta, head of Europe for CA, said.
“Novel is positioned to enter the market at an optimal time for growth and, through CA’s development expertise and relationships with capital partners and stakeholders in each country, will quickly gain market share, setting a new standard for student accommodation across Europe.”