Redfern rooms saved for indigenous students

An artist’s impression of the Scape development.

Student accommodation company Scape has begun its redevelopment of “The Block” in the Sydney suburb of Redfern into a 554-room building as it also moves ahead with the building of several major east coast projects it plans to bring on line by the end of 2021.

The company will work with its partners, the Aboriginal Housing Company and Deicorp, to redevelop the iconic Redfern site. As part of the offering, Scape Australia executive chairman Craig Carracher and chief executive Stephen Gaitanos will acknowledge the history of the site through 100 scholarship rooms for indigenous students.

Scape Redfern is one of the four new developments to be delivered in Sydney and Melbourne, adding 2459 rooms to Australia’s current student housing offering by the end of 2021.

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The company’s core fund, which will have a right of first offer over its existing Scape development sites as they complete and stabilise, is receiving strong interest with expectations in the $1 billion range.

It is also expected this vehicle could participate in non-Scape asset acquisitions in the student accommodation market.

Both the Atira and Urbanest portfolios are in the market with Scape a key strategic buyer, likely to be pitted against international financial groups.

Newly appointed executive Geoff Lovell will head the fund.

Gaitanos says Scape is committed to growing in Australia and has an interest from backers including Asia’s largest real estate investors including Allianz, APG, BouwInvest and ICBCI.

“We have received strong interest exceeding $1 billion for our current portfolio as it matures so we can ensure that Scape continues to operate our assets to the highest standards offered in Australia,” he says.

“Our operating model is to provide exhaustive security, safety and academic enhancement while delivering an Australian experience and lifestyle to our resident students. We also have the capacity to acquire third party assets that complement the Scape portfolio and provide scale to our operations nationally.”

Work on Scape’s Carlton United Breweries site in Melbourne’s Carlton has started after the company successfully appealed against the City of Melbourne’s decision to block the project to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal last year.

The 753-student-room facility will link Scape Swanston Street at RMIT with the University of Melbourne quarter at the Queensbury Hotel.

Meanwhile, a new 951-room tower on Franklin St, Melbourne, will become Scape’s tallest in the country at 175 metres and will be the first to include a commercial and retail offering.

– with Ben Wilmot

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