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Empiric acquires forward funded development in Sheffield: Provincial House

14th December 2015

The Board of Empiric Student Property plc is pleased to announce that the Group has exchanged contracts on Provincial House, a  107 bed forward funded development in Sheffield, for a total investment of £11 million.

The Group will acquire the freehold to the site which is located in central Sheffield, immediately next to the University of Sheffield's north campus. Sheffield has two universities, Sheffield University, a member of the Russell Group and ranked 21st on the Times Good University Guide 2015, and Sheffield Hallam University, ranked 62nd by the Times.  The existing property comprises the vacant and listed Provincial House office building, which extends over five floors, as well as a small two storey building adjacent to Provincial House. The development will involve the conversion and refurbishment of the entire property into 24 units, together with the construction of three new blocks to provide a further 83 units.

Hartshead Provincial Apartments Ltd will undertake the construction of the property on behalf of Empiric, to the Company's specifications.  The full amount required for the development will be invested in stages against development milestones. The Company will receive an income return from the developer on funds invested during the development period.

The property is scheduled to be completed in summer 2017, in time for the 2017/18 academic year.

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

"This acquisition further increases our footprint in Sheffield, a city with two universities and nearly 48,000 full time students, the 6th biggest student population outside London.  This will mean that, together with Portobello House, the Group will own 241 operating beds in Sheffield, once all properties reach completion in time for the 2017/18 academic year. The increased number of beds in the city will enable Empiric to derive operational efficiencies from the portfolio, as well as moving us closer towards our strategic target of providing 300 to 400 beds in each city or town where we operate. This acquisition is in line with Empiric's investment criteria and returns profile."

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The Empiric plc management team has a long track record in the acquisition, development and management of student accommodation assets in the UK.

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