LSE Southwark

LSE invests in new Southwark student housing project

DIF Capital Partners, an independent fund manager, announced in December 2021 that it reached an agreement with LSE to fund a student accommodation project. Known as the Glengall Road project, the new student residence will be located in Southwark, built on greenfield land, and is scheduled to be completed in 2024. As part of a 15-floor residence hall, the project will feature communal spaces, a gym, three rooftop terraces, a cinema room, and two courtyard gardens.

Pension Insurance Corporation (PIC) disclosed an investment of £129 million in the project. The DIF Infrastructure V fund will own 80.1 percent of the project while LSE will retain 19.9 percent. This marks LSE’s first DBFO project, where a private sector party is awarded a contract to design, build, finance, and operate a capital project.

Ian Spencer, LSE Director of Residential Services, commented on the development: “One of the priorities in LSE’s 2030 strategy is to Develop the LSE for Everyone. For Residential Services this means guaranteeing an offer of accommodation to all first-year students. The Glengall Rd development takes us a significant step towards that goal by providing 676 affordable rooms for our graduate students.”

It is expected that over a third of the rooms are to be covered by the London Plan’s affordable student housing requirements, to ensure that lower-income students have access to high-quality housing.

Quayle Munro Project Finance LLP (QMPF) provided the School with financial and commercial advice throughout the process. The School received legal advice from Pinsent Masons, while Student First Group advised on the design, build and operation of the new halls.

The Beaver contacted Ian Spencer, LSE’s Director of Residential Services directly for a comment. Spencer said: “The School’s aim is to offer all first year students a place in a hall of residence. Currently, it is estimated that the School would need circa 6,000 to achieve this aim. We currently have circa 4,200 bed spaces. Glengall Rd, by providing 676 ensuite rooms will take us a step in this direction – making up for bed spaces which the School lost when leases on Grosvenor and Northumberland Houses ended.

“The School owns the freehold of this hall, Bankside House, and High Holborn. All other halls are on lease agreements of nomination agreements – which have end dates associated with them.”

Emphasising the convenience of the location, Spencer said it is ‘‘with a direct bus route into campus’’ and ‘‘the cycling highway means a 20-minute cycle ride to Houghton Street… the hall will have secure underground storage for bikes.’’ 

‘‘Rents when the hall opens in 2024 will start at £175.00 for ensuite rooms.  The hall will be offered to LSE graduate students on 51 week contracts – something the School is short of.’’

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