ANU completes student accommodation transaction

3 August 2016

Improving and providing more student accommodation on campus is one of the University's highest priorities.

ANU has signed a 30-year concession agreement with investment management firm H.R.L Morrison and Co over nine student residences capable of housing around 3,760 students on campus.

The equity investors represented by Morrison and Co are Infratil and the Commonwealth Superannuation Corporation.

The long-term arrangement ensures the University retains ownership of the residences and provides ANU with continued responsibility for student accommodation operations.

The contract includes a new 500-bed student residence, currently under construction. In return for the investment, the Consortium will receive revenue from the rental stream for the next 30 years.

The concession agreement will involve a substantial upfront payment to the University which will be used to repay University debt, help fund the proposed redevelopment of Union Court and improve student services.

ANU Vice-Chancellor Professor Brian Schmidt AC said the agreement would give the University the opportunity to upgrade and improve its student accommodation, and would help ANU meet the strong demand for student accommodation on campus.

"Improving and providing more student accommodation on campus is one of the University's highest priorities," Professor Schmidt said.

"This long-term partnership with Morrison and their clients provides significant benefits to the University and will help us improve and expand student accommodation and student facilities at ANU."

In its own announcement, Infratil Chief Executive Marko Bogoievski said: "The ANU portfolio is the standout portfolio in the on-campus Purpose Built Student Accommodation sector in Australia in terms of both scale and quality."

Under the agreement, ANU retains existing responsibility for student accommodation operations, admissions to residences, and student pastoral care, safety and security. ANU will also be responsible for IT access and infrastructure.

Consistent with current practice, student rents will not exceed 75 per cent of market rates, and rental tariffs will be calculated based on a pre-determined formula referenced to changes in the consumer price index.

The nine residences will be maintained by Spotless, one of Australia's leading facilities managers, and in line with strict maintenance standards set by the University. As part of the agreement, the Consortium will also undertake a range of improvement works to the existing residences.

The agreement covers the new student residence building under construction, Burton & Garran Hall, Graduate House, Toad Hall, Ursula Hall, Davey Lodge, Lena Karmel Lodge, Kinloch Lodge and Warrumbul Lodge.

The arrangement follows a major review of student accommodation and a survey of 4,800 residential students in 2015, which found a pressing need to upgrade existing facilities and build more student accommodation.

Around 5,000 students currently live in student accommodation, but demand is strong and around 1,500 more students were unable to find University accommodation in 2016.

The agreement follows the announcement by philanthropists Graham and Louise Tuckwell of plans to build two new halls of residence, to house a total of 800 students.

Professor Schmidt said the two announcements underline his vision to expand the campus residential experience to as many students as possible.

"These two important announcements underscore the University's commitment to making sure students who live on campus have access to the best quality accommodation and can contribute to the life and culture of the University," he said.

The ANU has been advised by Flagstaff Partners and Ashurst in relation to the student accommodation transaction.