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EBRD finances new student housing in Poland

By Axel  Reiserer

Loan will finance Student Depot, development of student accommodation throughout the country

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is supporting the development of Student Depot, a new network of privately-owned student housing in Poland, with a loan of up to PLN 118.83 million (€27.07 million equivalent) to a Polish-owned company controlled and managed by Griffin Real Estate and Oaktree Capital Group LLC.

The funds will be complemented by a loan provided by HSBC Bank Polska on a parallel basis. They will be invested in a portfolio of student housing assets and developments in Łódź, Lublin, Poznań and Warsaw. In addition, a pipeline of potential future projects will be created.

Poland has the sixth highest number of students in higher education in Europe. The current student housing stock mainly consists of university-owned dormitories and limited private accommodation offered by local individuals and small-scale private investors. This investment will facilitate the emergence of privately-owned purpose-built student housing as a new asset class.

The student housing projects will be designed to be as energy efficient as possible. The EBRD is keen to support the financing of sustainable development as buildings are currently responsible for 41 per cent of energy consumption and 36 per cent of CO2 emissions in Poland. Griffin will operate the assets in a sustainable manner and will implement a community engagement plan to educate and encourage students to save energy. This initiative will be the first of its kind in Poland and in the EBRD region.

Claudia Pendred, EBRD Director, Property and Tourism, said: “The EBRD is proud to be involved in this financing of sustainable private student housing which will also educate students to save energy. It is a fascinating project which is breaking new ground. First class education must be combined with functional accommodation so that students can focus on their studies. At the same time, there is huge potential in this market for developers.”

Leszek Maciusowicz, CEO of Student Depot, said: “Student Depot is the first and the largest network of privately-owned student housing in Poland, and their offering is very popular among Polish and foreign students. Thanks to the financing, in the coming years our network will be expanded by new projects in university towns and cities. By 2019, we plan to have more than 7,000 beds. I would like to thank the EBRD and HSBC for their faith in our project which, in fact, creates a completely new sector of the Polish market. Thanks to their financing, and to modern student housing, we are also increasing the attractiveness of Polish universities which are being favoured more and more often by foreign students.”

The EBRD has been working in Poland since its establishment 25 years ago and it was here that the Bank made its first investment. To date, the EBRD has invested €8.25 billion in 375 projects in the country. The Bank’s activities include all sectors of the Polish economy. In recent years, following demand in the market, the EBRD has been particularly active in the development of the local capital market and in supporting energy efficiency and sustainable sources of energy.

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