Speedwell enters into Warsaw market with its first Student Housing project

by   CIJ News iDesk III
2024-07-04   11:42
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BPI Real Estate Poland in partnership with Acteeum Group has sold a site in Warsaw to the Romanian-Belgian real estate developer Speedwell. With this acquisition, Speedwell enters the Polish market and announces the development of its first student housing project in Poland.

Speedwell Polska, the new division of Speedwell, has made its debut in Poland with the acquisition of a 2,290 sqm plot jointly owned by BPI Real Estate Poland and Acteeum. The site, where Speedwell plans to develop its first Purpose-Built Student Accommodation (PBSA) project in Poland is located at Obrzeżna Street, in a vibrant Warsaw’s Mokotów district. Mokotów is very well-recognized area that combines a bustling office hub, several universities, excellent public transportation, large green parks and vast entertainment offer. The strategic location of Mokotów with its proximity to educational institutions and amenities, positions it as the perfect spot for students seeking a comfortable and convenient living.

The Sellers have thoroughly prepared the building permit and concept, ensuring a smooth construction start. Speedwell will execute the project further, using its developer experience from the Romanian market. The planned student housing project will offer approximately 600 beds. Construction is scheduled to begin in Q1 2025. The new development, set to be ready before the start of the 2026-2027 academic year, promises to bring high-quality, sustainable housing for students in one of the city’s most dynamic areas.

Speedwell, founded by Didier Balcaen and Jan Demeyere, boasts over 45 years of combined experience in the real estate industry. The company is committed to the highest European construction standards, including BREEAM and WELL certifications. Speedwell's projects are known for their innovative and sustainable developments, created with consideration for the environment and aiming for inclusive urban regeneration, benefiting from open spaces, plenty of green space, and convenient access to essential amenities, all seeking to provide the optimum of 15 minutes walking distance to the essential facilities for quality living and strategically located in prime locations.

"We have ambitious plans to acquire a portfolio of projects in Poland similar in size to our portfolio in Romania, valued at €1.5 billion" said Didier Balcaen, co-founder of Speedwell. "Our key acquisition targets include a variety of asset classes such as residential for sale, apartments for rent, student dormitories, office spaces, and industrial properties, both in Warsaw and in regional cities. We believe in the potential of the Polish market and the broader Central and Eastern European region. Our vision for a sustainable future is reflected in all Speedwell projects, and this new student housing development underscores our commitment to the next generation."

This milestone acquisition was facilitated by Michał Pietuszko, Justyna Bartnik, and Julia Rożankowska, legal advisors from DLA Piper, who handled the legal due diligence, negotiation, and support throughout the entire transactional process. The technical due diligence was led by Artur Kotas, with the assistance of DIL Polska Baumangement specialists: Piotr Łukanowski, Aleksander Pater, and Piotr Jeż. Natalia Sarpi, CFO, and Alex Bumbu Head of Legal spearheaded the project from Speedwell’s side.

BPI Real Estate, part of the CFE group, is a leading developer in Belgium. Since 2009, BPI Real Estate Poland has been shaping cities with its high-quality real estate projects for multi-family residential, office, service and commercial developments.

“We are pleased that the project will be developed by Speedwell, who shares similar values to ours: delivering the highest standard and strong commitment to sustainability which align perfectly with our mission as an 'Urban Shaper for Good’, added Béranger Dumont, General Manager at BPI Real Estate Poland.

The deal was coordinated from the legal side by Dariusz Kretowicz, Head of Legal with support from Jerzy Pyrć, PWP Law Firm, Andrzej Świder, Project Director, Marta Głąbowska, Investment Analyst and Krystyna Pietruszyńska of JLL.

Acteeum Group is a privately owned international company operating on the commercial and residential real estate market in Poland, undertaking the entire development process, starting from selecting suitable plots for development through the stage of design, construction, commercialization, management, and sale of facilities.

"We have worked hard with BPI on receiving all relevant permits for this exciting scheme and we are glad that Speedwell will now transform the site into a modern student housing facility. The place will no doubt contribute to Mokotów’s vibrant future. We thank both BPI as well as Speedwell for the smooth cooperation and we enjoyed teaming up with the skilled professionals from both parties” commented Arne Bongenaar, Managing Partner at Acteeum Group.

Mokotów is one of Warsaw’s most sought-after districts, known for its excellent infrastructure and connectivity. The area is home to over 120,000 jobs and many of Warsaw’s top universities, such as the Warsaw School of Economics and Warsaw University of Life Sciences. Students living in the new Speedwell development will enjoy proximity to major office buildings, universities, and the Westfield Mokotów shopping centre, which offers a variety of shops, fitness centres, restaurants, and entertainment options. The area is well-served by public transportation, including the subway, and is close to Chopin Airport.

The student population in Poland has grown significantly, driven by an increase in the number of foreign students. According to Eurostat data cited by JLL Poland, between 2016 and 2021, Poland saw a 36% increase in the number of international students. As of the academic year 2022/2023, Poland hosted around 105,400 international students, accounting for 8.6% of the total number of students, with Europeans making up 72% of this demographic. This influx has increased demand for student accommodation, with Poland facing a shortage of over 400,000 beds, the sixth largest in Europe. Public dormitories in Poland offer only around 115,300 beds, accommodating only 9% of the student population.

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