Construction Enquirer News Unite buys Edinburgh site for 300-bed scheme after Covid-work pause

Student accommodation specialist Unite Students is getting back into building mode after pausing several schemes at the height of the coronavirus outbreak.

This morning it announced it had exchanged contracts to buy a new 300-bed development site in central Edinburgh, which forms part of a wider mixed-use redevelopment.

Unite said it is targeting delivery of the direct-let development for the 2023/24 academic year however, subject to planning consent, this timetable may be accelerated.

Richard Smith, chief executive of Unite Students, said: “This acquisition represents one of three new development and forward funded schemes either contracted or under offer for a total development cost of £250m.

“The scheme will be funded through the proceeds of our recent placing and delivers enhanced returns relative to pre-Covid-19 levels.”

In April Unite announced it would halt its project plans as it prepared for a £125m revenue hit on student rents during the coronavirus crisis.

This deferred delivery of a 900-bed scheme near Aldgate in London and a 416-bed scheme in Bristol being delivered by contractor RG Group.

Last month Unite raised £300m through a share placing allowing it to cut debt and boost investment in new developments, targetting development yields of 8.5%.

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