Round Hill: A New Player in Spain’s Student Hall Market

19 July 2018 – Eje Prime

A new player wants to benefit from the boom in student residences in Spain. The British fund Round Hill has set its sights on the domestic market and is joining the long list of investment firms that are looking for opportunities in these types of assets in the country, according to explanations from sources close to the company speaking to Eje Prime.

The fund currently has a pipeline of more than 7,000 beds in the student hall market in several countries across Europe. Spain and Portugal feature on the list, as do the United Kingdom, Ireland, The Netherlands and Portugal.

Round Hill, founded in 2002 by Michael Bickford, a former director of Morgan Stanley, is sounding out the market to find both land and student residence assets through which to compete in a sector that is clearly booming around the world and, above all, in Spain, the country the receives the most Erasmus students.

The company even has strategic alliances with other investment funds for specific projects. In this way, in the Netherlands, Round Hill and KKR have created a joint venture to purchase a three-acre plot in Utrecht, in partnership with Stadium Capital Partners, on which they are going to build a 23-storey building with 577 beds. In addition, the tower will contain 173 apartments for young professionals.

The joint venture between Round Hill and KKR may also make its debut in Spain, according to sources at the company. “We hope to expand our footprint in student housing and residential accommodation in certain key markets in Europe”, they say.

In addition, Round Hill has been interested in the Spanish hall of residence market for several years now. One example is that the fund was one of the parties interested in buying the Resa asset portfolio, which ended up in the hands of AXA Real Assets and CBRE Global Investment Partners for around €500 million.

Luxury developers of Palo Alto

Round Hill Capital already has a star project in Spain. Palo Alto, located in Ojén, a town adjacent to Marbella, comprises 600 homes spread over a plot measuring fifty hectares, including twenty hectares of green space. A luxury urbanisation in which the real estate fund invested €250 million in 2016.

Moreover, following its arrival in the Spanish market, the company led by Bickford explained that it had another €1.5 billion to invest in real estate. One of the closest directors to the founder of Round Hill is a Spaniard, who played a key role in the development of Palo Alto. Matías Villarroal, formerly of JP Morgan and Morgan Stanley in New York, is the Director General and Head of Residential Developments at Round Hill in the Spanish market (…).

Original story: Eje Prime (by J. Izquierdo & P. Riaño)

Translation: Carmel Drake