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07 May 2018

Following exceptional business growth in 2017, Global Student Accommodation (GSA) has announced two new appointments as it strives for continued in-market expansion. With 8,346 beds currently in operation, 3,650 in development and 795 secured, the company is set to add between 12,000-13,000 beds to its UK pipeline before 2025. The new appointments will help cement GSA’s position as a world leader in investing, developing and managing purpose-built student accommodation (PBSA).

James Hunt has been appointed as GSA UK & Ireland Acquisition Director and will be responsible for the expansion of the UK and Ireland portfolio through the acquisition of development opportunities and investment properties.

A Chartered Surveyor with over 15 years’ experience of the UK student accommodation sector, James has taken schemes from inception through the entire development process. He has created strategies for the acquisition of student accommodation, led multi-disciplinary teams and site acquisitions, and held responsibility for development management, joint ventures and fund management. James joins GSA from the Unite Group Plc where he held a variety of senior property roles and was a member of Unite’s Management Board, with responsibility for delivering in year performance. In his final role at Unite he was University Partnerships Director, and during that time successfully delivered the company’s first on-campus scheme at Aston University.

Richard Brenner also joins GSA UK & Ireland as Operations Director and will be responsible for leading all the UK’s operation and in-property management teams. He will play a key role and ensuring that GSA’s five customer promises and commitment to delivering unrivalled customer service are upheld across the portfolio.

Richard brings further strong experience to GSA’s senior team, developed primarily within two market-leading organisations. He previously worked at Unite Students where he held a broad range of operational, change management and head office leadership roles. Most recently he led the delivery of the Unite Group Plc’s purpose and strategic objectives across the South Portfolio, consisting of 32 properties housing 10,000 students with assets totaling £500m and an annual turnover of £55m. Prior to joining Unite, Richard was Operations Director within the education division of Compass Group.

Nick Richards, MD of GSA UK & Ireland, said: “The UK maintains its reputation for having some of the very best academic institutions globally and there will continue to be strong demand for well-maintained PBSA in good locations from both home and international students.

“As we grow, we will continue to deliver high quality student accommodation and services, in great city centre locations close to our universities and I am extremely pleased that both James and Richard have chosen to join GSA. Both are extremely excited about the opportunity to lead and support the development of the talented people that we have within the team.”

GSA has grown rapidly to become the largest player in PBSA on a European scale, with more than 20,000 operational, in-development and secured pipeline beds across a total of 25 European cities in Germany, Spain, the UK and Ireland.


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