Chicago’s CA Ventures targets $500m at Europe, starting with Polish student living

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Tom Scott © ca-ventures.com

Chicago-based real estate group CA Ventures is planning to invest $500m in the next five years in Europe across student and multi-family housing. Purpose-built student living in Poland is its first target.

A vertically-integrated owner, developer and operator of apartments for all adult life stages, CA owns $6.7bn of student housing, multi-family and senior living communities throughout the US. Over the last eight years, its student housing entity, CA Student Living, has amassed a $3bn portfolio serving over 40 universities in the US, Canada, Latin America and, now, Europe. During that same period it also sold over $2.5bn of student accommodation assets.

“CA has been an innovator in student housing in the Americas for over a decade and .. we’ve been evaluating the European housing market closely,” said CEO Tom Scott in a release. “We believe the market for purpose-built student housing in Europe is poised to benefit from growing university enrolments, increasing consumer adoption, and a very limited supply of amenitised housing… Our capabilities as a vertically-integrated developer and operator uniquely position us to bring our successful model to Europe, capitalising on the scale and depth of these markets.”

CA is currently developing two student housing projects in Poland – 700 beds in Krakow and 400 beds in Warsaw – and is in active negotiations to acquire properties and development sites in the UK, Netherlands, Germany, Spain, Ireland and Czech Republic.

JJ Smith, CA Student Living president, said Poland is a particularly attractive European market with strong enrolment growth from local and foreign students due to its high-quality, cross-discipline university programs offered in English. CA estimates that while nearly half of the 2m university students in Poland do not live with their parents, less than 200,000 student housing beds are currently available, much of this stock functionally obsolete.

“Broadly across Europe, less than a third of all students currently live in purpose-built student housing so we see tremendous runway,” said Smith. “We have spent a significant amount of time researching specific markets, identifying landowners and pinpointing co-development partners looking to parlay their local expertise to a platform that de-risks their position and provides capital alongside design, development, construction management, leasing and operations expertise in the student accommodations sector. Already we have enjoyed great success and this is just the beginning. Our access to capital and ability to handle all aspects of development will allow us to move quickly to secure the best opportunities.”

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