Balfour Beatty poised for Scottish student deal

The UK developer has been named preferred bidder for a £110m student accommodation project at the University of Edinburgh. Balfour Beatty will provide all the equity for the 50-year design, build and maintain concession.

Balfour Beatty, the UK-based international developer, has been appointed preferred bidder for the University of Edinburgh’s £110 million (€139 million; $174 million) Holyrood Postgraduate Student Accommodation and Outreach Centre project. 

The 50-year concession involves the design, build and maintenance of student accommodation facilities at the Scottish university. There are two elements to the project: state-of-the-art accommodation facilities for 1,160 postgraduate students, and an outreach centre which will host the university’s community-based teaching activities and professional development courses. 

Balfour Beatty said in a statement it will invest 100 percent of the required equity for the project – which is expected to reach financial close in spring 2013 – but did not say what sum this would involve. 

Ian Tyler, chief executive of Balfour Beatty, said: “We have worked with the University of Edinburgh on numerous projects over the past 18 years and look forward to supporting them in realising their long-term aspirations to enhance the postgraduate student experience.”

The developer is an experienced player in the student accommodation sector, with a portfolio of design and build contracts in the UK amounting to more than £120 million. 

Earlier this month, French developer Bouygues – along with accommodation operator Derwent Living and fund manager Equitix – announced it had reached financial close on the £65 million University of Essex student accommodation project, also a 50-year contract.   

In its recent results statement for the first six months of 2012, Balfour Beatty revealed that its investments division had delivered a “considerably better result” than in 2011 due to the “successful” disposal of two infrastructure assets.