King’s College London deal sealed by UNITE as students digs go upmarket

June 1, 2012

UNITE, the UK’s leading developer and manager of student accommodation, has signed a 15-year agreement with London’s King’s College for 97% of Moonraker Point – the Bristol-based group’s new 674-bedroom development on Southbank.

It is UNITE’s first agreement with King’s and points to a growing trend for universities and colleges to offer high-quality student accommodation with well-located sites offering good transport links, close to university campuses and rent that includes utilities, internet, insurance and 24-hour security.

According to research by UNITE, 80% of prospective students – the first to be hit by increased tuition fees – are prepared to pay more for a university with a strong reputation, suggesting that university brand will be a more important factor than price in choosing where to study.

UNITE, which has a portfolio of more than 130 properties, has invested £165m in Southwark – Moonraker Point is the group’s fifth development in the borough.

Group managing director of property Richard Simpson said: "This agreement demonstrates the continued demand for student accommodation in the capital. Moonraker Point is a high-quality development in the heart of Southbank, an ideal location for any student studying in London.

"UNITE has been working closely with universities since we launched 21 years ago and we are proud to add King’s as our newest partner. Our flexible operating model enables us to fit alongside universities’ existing accommodation arrangements and we look forward to working with King’s College London to provide their students with a home that enhances their overall student experience."

UNITE’s relationship with King’s is extended through a bursary scheme targeting students that have lived in local authority care, the single most under-represented group attending university, provided by the UNITE Foundation, UNITE’s charitable trust. Five King’s College London students will receive free accommodation in Moonraker Point for the duration of their studies, plus £4,000 a year towards living expenses.

Earlier this month, UNITE said it expects to be among the business winners from the Olympics with a one-off boost to its income of up to £1.75m. The group is in the final stages of preparation to rent 3,600 rooms for LOCOG – the London Olympics delivery body – for eight weeks up to and during the Games.

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