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(原文)Blackstone builds towers for students  

2009-12-06 11:54:35|  分类: 外媒财经新闻翻译 |  标签: |举报 |字号 订阅

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Translated Version (Traditional Chinese): Here

South China Morning Post, Dec. 3rd, 2009, B12

Bloomberg in London

    The tallest tower in London's main financial district to open next year will not house bankers or office workers - it will be a student dormitory.

    The 33-storey building's owner is Blackstone Group, the world's largest private equity company. Blackstone entered Britain's student housing market 4 years ago and has so far invested more than 400 million pounds (HK$4.7 billion). "There is a chronic imbalance between supply and demand in this sector," said Stuart Grant, the Blackstone executive who oversees the student housing unit. The industry's average occupancy rate is 99%.

    The shortage of accommodation for London's growing student population had caused average rents to rise 5% annually over the last 6 years, Knight Frank said in a report. That compared with an average gain of 0.6% for all commercial properties, the real estate broker said.

    Nido Spitalfields, Blackstone's second dormitory in London, will have space for 1,204 students paying as much as 300 pounds a week for an en suite room. The 105-metre skyscraper is due to open in the middle of next year. It would overlook Broadgate, the office complex in the City of London that is half-owned by Blackstone and would cost about 205 million pounds.

    There are 270,000 full-time students in London, according to a survey published by broker Driver Jonas. That number will increase by about 40,000 within 3 years as overseas students keep flocking to London and more British teenagers choose higher education in a weak job market, the firm estimates. More than 60,000 people attend three of London's largest universities: London Metropolitan, Middlesex and the University of West Minister. "Given the lack of finance currently available for development and the constrained pipeline, rents are likely to continue to rise for the foreseeable future," Knight Frank said.

    Nido Spitalfields will be similar to Blackstone's first student housing project in Britain, a pair of 16-storey towers in the King's Cross area of north London that were completed in 2007. The property has 846 rooms, or "cubes" as the company calls them. Most have 16.6 sq metres to 18.4 sq metres of space. The expansive foyer, with a manned security desk alongside a kiosk selling Starbucks coffee, is spotless and the only sign of student mischief is a supermarket trolley lurking in the elevator. It would not look out of place in Canary Wharf, the cluster of glass-and-steel buildings in east London occupied by firms including Barclays, Credit Suisse Group, HSBC Holdings and Citigroup.

    Most rooms in Nido King's Cross cost 245 to 270 pounds per week. Internet access is free and students have the option of paying for a maid. That is expensive, even by London standards. For the same price, they could rent a local one-bedroom flat with a separate lounge, kitchen and bathroom.

    About 80% of the tenants are from outside Britain, Grant said. Parents are often willing to pay for accommodation, especially in the first year, if their children are guaranteed  security. Americans and Chinese are the largest groups of foreign students. In the United States, most campuses offer some form of accommodation. About 20% of London students can live in rooms provided by their university.

    "Higher education is increasingly a global business," Grant said. "We are providing a safe environmental for foreign kids coming to London." Blackstone plans to build a third residence for students in London next year on a site near Notting Hill, a fashionable district in west London, Grant said. The building's 272 rooms will be available from 2011.

    Blackstone Real Estate Advisors, the firm's property investment and management unit, has raised more than US$29 billion since it was formed in 1992, it said on its website. The firm started investing in student housing and properties such as pubs and nursing homes about 4 years ago as European retail and office buildings were becoming too expensive, Grant said. Blackstone hired brand consultant Tyler Brule in 2005 to design Nido, which means nest in Spanish and Italian.

    Blackstone will operate student homes with about 2,200 beds by mid-2010. The biggest provider of this type of accommodation in Britain, Unite Group, has about 38,500 beds, it said on its website. Unite's biggest shareholders are Fidelity International and JP Morgan Chase.

    Blackstone would probably sell the Nido business within 3 years, Grant said. This could take the form of an initial public offering to create a real estate trust, he said.

 

(原文)Blackstone builds towers for students - maxpayne0594 - Call of Duty

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