Introducing GSA Star Asia
GSA Star Asia KK is wholly owned by GSA Star Asia Japan Limited which is a joint venture between GSA and Star Asia Group. The company was originally established in 2014, and has managed student accommodation in Japan since 2015. The company is looking to acquire land and buildings suitable for development and conversion, and existing student accommodation with an initial focus in the Tokyo metropolitan area. GSA Star Asia has a target of securing 20,000 beds for university students studying in Japan.
The need for student accommodation in Japan
Japan is one of the most attractive higher education markets globally, with almost three million university students, one million of whom are in Tokyo and the surrounding area, making it the single largest University city in the world. The Japanese government is building on its world-class status by attracting international students and has a strategic plan to significantly increase the number of international students studying in the country to grow revenues and encourage internationalization between students. At present, about 80 per cent of students in Tokyo live in the private rented sector. With a global reputation for a high quality university education, growing student numbers, combined with some of the toughest market conditions for real estate, Tokyo faces a mounting challenge to address the accommodation requirements of its student population.
GSA Star Asia was set up to address the huge shortage of student accommodation for domestic and international students and to support the Japanese Government’s Top Global University Project. This is the Japanese government’s global strategy to increase the number of foreign students enrolled at Japanese universities. The project is already having a positive impact. As of May 2015, there were 208,379, a 13.2% increase on 2014. The number of foreign students enrolled at universities selected for the Top Global University Project is expected to double over the next few years.
Hakusan student accommodation
The first property in the portfolio will be developed in the Hakusan area of Tokyo’s Bunkyo-ku district, comprising 364 purpose built student accommodation beds and a total floor area of approximately 4,500m2. This project was funded with a combination of equity from Star Asia Group, GSA and two global institutional investors along with financing from a Japanese bank. The Hakusan project will introduce GSA’s global student brand “Uninest” into the market, creating a new community for Japanese and international students. The property will feature high quality, specially designed student apartments as well as a lounge, theater room, study space, barbecue space and other areas shared by all of the building’s occupants. There will also be a communal kitchen with the whole space designed to foster community and a collaborative environment for students.