ISIF commits €75m to Harrison Street fund targeting new purpose-built student accommodation

ISIF commits €75m to Harrison Street fund targeting new purpose-built student accommodation

Published 7 September 2023

  • ISIF teaming up with global investment group Harrison Street for the second time, building on existing €25m investment announced in 2021
  • New commitment announced at new 623-bed student accommodation scheme in Cork, which was funded through ISIF’s existing Harrison Street partnership

The Ireland Strategic Investment Fund (ISIF) has today announced a €75m commitment to Harrison Street, for a co-investment strategy which will focus primarily on delivering new student accommodation in Ireland’s regional cities.

ISIF is teaming up with Harrison Street, a global investment management firm with over US$56bn (€52bn) in assets under management to create a programme that aims to deliver more than €500m of new accommodation. The new partnership will focus primarily on the regional student accommodation market but will also explore wider opportunities to deliver new homes.

The new €75m commitment builds on an existing €25m partnership between ISIF and Harrison Street, which was announced in 2021. Today’s announcement was made at a visit to the Bottleworks Building in Cork, attended by the Minister for Finance, Michael McGrath.

Bottleworks is a 623-bed student accommodation scheme on the grounds of the former Coca Cola factory in Cork, the development of which was supported by ISIF and Harrison Street’s existing collaboration.

Since its European platform’s inception in 2015, Harrison Street has deployed over €1.1bn across Ireland in 16 investments which includes approximately 5,000 new student beds. The ISIF investment in Harrison Street European Property Partners Fund III in 2021 has already delivered high levels of economic impact. It is anticipated that this further commitment will support its on-going investment in Ireland and amplify the activity of the firm in this sector, particularly in regional cities that are home to universities and other educational institutions.

This new €75m commitment will comprise of €25m towards the new Harrison Street European Property Partners Fund IV that invests in student housing, build-to-rent residential and life sciences assets. The remaining €50m is allocated to a co-investment vehicle which will invest specifically in Irish investment opportunities.

The investment aligns with ISIF’s double bottom line mandate to invest on a commercial basis in a manner designed to support economic activity and employment in Ireland.

Today’s announcement follows the recent announcement of an extension to ISIF’s funding programme with a €400m allocation for equity-based investments in new housing projects. ISIF has already committed €1.2bn to residential housing at end-2022, with over 11.250 homes sold.

Speaking at the Bottleworks Building, Minister for Finance, Michael McGrath said:

Today’s announcement of a €75m commitment by ISIF in Harrison Street Funds is a further very welcome development in the provision of high quality purpose built student accommodation in Ireland.

This builds on an established and effective partnership which is delivering much need additional housing stock.

The Government is committed to leveraging a range of public and private capital sources to advance our targets under Housing for All and today’s announcement complements that.

Nick Ashmore, Director of ISIF said:

ISIF has a strong track record in deploying capital in a targeted and commercial manner to address specific economic challenges. This commitment will support ISIF’s wider aim of delivering over 25,000 new homes by 2025 for owner-occupiers, renters, and people who need social housing, as well as students.

The partnership with Harrison Street aims to increase the supply of available student accommodation and will support the growth of Ireland’s universities, while helping to add to the supply of accommodation and to employment in our regional cities.

We have set out to invest €500m to make Ireland’s 5 regional cities – Cork, Limerick, Galway, Waterford and Kilkenny – better places to invest, to create jobs, to work and to live and our announcement today aims to make it even more attractive to pursue third-level education in our regional cities as well.