GSA has formed a partnership with Star Asia Group, a boutique investment management group focused on Japanese real estate opportunities, to create the next generation of student accommodation in Japan. GSA Star Asia KK, a wholly-owned subsidiary of GSA Star Asia Japan Limited, has its headquarters in Tokyo and has been formed to create 20,000 beds for university students studying in Japan.
Japan is one of the most attractive higher education markets globally, with almost three million university students, one million of whom are in Tokyo and the surrounding area, making it the single largest University city in the world. The Japanese government is building on its world-class status by attracting international students and has a strategic plan to significantly increase the number of international students studying in the country to grow revenues and encourage internationalisation between students.
At present, about 80 per cent of students in Tokyo live in the private rented sector. With a global reputation for a high quality university education, growing student numbers, combined with some of the toughest market conditions for real estate, Tokyo faces a mounting challenge to address the accommodation requirements of its student population.
GSA brings its significant sector experience and management expertise alongside Star Asia Group’s strong track record in Japan and together the partnership will launch a totally new accommodation product to the market, targeting Japanese and international university students.
The first property in the portfolio will be developed in Hakusan 4-chome, in Tokyo’s Bunkyo-ku district, comprising 364 purpose built student accommodation beds and a total floor area of approximately 4,500m2. This project was funded with a combination of equity from Star Asia Group, GSA and two global institutional investors along with financing from a Japanese bank. The project in Hakusan will introduce GSA’s global student brand “Uninest” into the market, creating a new community for Japanese and international students.
Unlike existing student dormitories, the property will feature high quality, specially designed student apartments as well as a lounge, theatre room, study space, barbecue space and other areas shared by all of the building’s occupants. There will also be a communal kitchen with the whole space designed to foster community and a collaborative environment for students.
Simon Loveridge, GSA Managing Director – Asia Pacific said: “We’re delighted to partner with Star Asia to bring a new generation of student accommodation to Japan. We have been operating student accommodation in Tokyo for several years and also provide homes for Japanese students in other parts of the world. Japanese students are ready for this new concept in student communal living, built on high quality design and aimed at building a strong community of local and international students. With Star Asia Group’s track record in Japan and our 25 years’ global experience in this sector, we are strongly positioned to build real scale across the Japanese market.”
Star Asia Group Co-Founder, Malcolm MacLean commented: “I originally met Nick Porter, the founder of GSA Group, over 12 years ago when I invested in his student accommodation company. Since that time, we have closely watched the exciting growth of the GSA business globally and have been impressed by what they have accomplished and how they have executed. We are now delighted to have partnered with GSA in Japan and look forward to building a highly successful business together in this market.”
Star Asia Group Co-Founder, Taro Masuyama further commented: “The Hakusan project is well located with its proximity to several premier universities, and is an excellent example of Star Asia’s and GSA’s combined effort to build this unique purpose built student accommodation platform in Japan.”
The image shown is an artist’s design detail of the Hakusan building and to which the GSA Coral Student Portfolio has investment exposure.