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Greystar Targets New Market With £388M Portfolio Buy: Young Professionals

River Street Tower in Manchester, one of the assets that will operate under Greystar's new Canvas brand.

U.S. beds specialist Greystar has bought a £388M portfolio of UK student accommodation and build-to-rent assets, which will form part of the rollout of a new brand targeting young professionals. 

A fund managed by Greystar has bought two student accommodation assets in London, one in Manchester and one in Coventry; and one BTR asset in Coventry. The portfolio comprises 1,907 beds and was bought from developer Downing

Greystar said that the assets in Manchester and Coventry will carry a new brand it is launching in the UK and Europe called Canvas. Five student accommodation assets in London, Glasgow, Coventry and Bristol, bought for £291M last year from KKR, are also part of the Canvas brand.

The new brand will be targeted at both students and young professionals. It's the first time Greystar has marketed a brand to both of these demographics at once in the UK, though it has successfully done so in Europe. The company said young professionals leaving university often have the same needs as students. 

“All of our brands are customer-centric with residents at their heart; we utilise extensive customer research and feedback to thoroughly understand the needs and preferences of our target audiences,” Greystar Senior Director of Marketing, Brand and Insights Melody Mijnen said in a release.

“By listening and learning from our residents, we know that sustainability and wellbeing are now not just a nice to have but central to their decision-making process. It is envisaged that as the footprint of the brand grows across Europe that Canvas residents will be able to benefit from short stays at other buildings within the portfolio giving them easy access to a range of cities.”

The two London assets in the most recent purchase, in Lambeth and North Acton, will be targeted purely at students under Greystar’s Chapter brand. 

Late last year, Greystar bought Fizzy Living, the BTR brand, and agreed a deal with ADIA to invest $2.2B in UK rental housing.  

The portfolio’s vendor, Downing, said it would use proceeds from the sale to build out some of its £1B development pipeline.