Reading signs £230 million deal to hand student halls to private company

The University of Reading has signed a £230 million deal which will see its entire campus accommodation run by a private company.

December 27, 2011

The handover, due to take place next year, will see the University Partnerships Programme (UPP) manage over 4,000 rooms under a 125-year agreement.

This will include 2,610 rooms owned and managed by Reading, a further 898 rooms currently being built by the university, 816 rooms that UPP already manages and a further 649 that the company will build on the site of the current Bridges Hall.

The deal makes Reading the first institution to form a long-term partnership deal with a private investor for all of its campus accommodation.

It is also the largest residential investment by a company into a UK university to date.

Tony Downes, acting vice-chancellor of Reading, said he was “delighted” to hand over the university’s entire on-campus student accommodation to UPP.

He said the deal would add to the “high quality experience at Reading” and allow the university to invest more in research and teaching facilities.

UPP, which specialises in funding and operating student accommodation, said it had now invested £1.4 billion in the sector, and planned to invest a further £1 billion.

The company will also operate the campus accommodation office at Reading and run all facilities management services, although the university will still be responsible for student welfare, grounds maintenance security, IT and catering.

Sean O’Shea, chief executive of UPP, said: “The scale of this transaction shows that the higher education sector is out-performing the market – and is increasingly seen as an attractive investment opportunity, providing consistently robust income streams.

“This deal shows that despite the financial climate, the financial community has a growing appetite for this kind of investment opportunity.”

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