YORKSHIRE, ENGLAND—Australian infrastructure firm Lend Lease has signed on to design and build as many as 40,000 student housing units at 70 locations throughout England and Scotland in an exclusive agreement with Manor Property Group. Lend Lease’s project management and construction division will deliver the projects for Manor Property Group, a locally based private developer.

The firms will begin work on the first five locations this year. When completed in 2015, the communities will deliver 3,500 units. Worth a total of some £240 million, the projects will serve the university cities of Birmingham, Leeds, Manchester, Sheffield and Hull.

The first five properties, which will debut under the new student housing brand, Qdos Student Homes, are part of a larger £1.5-billion plan to build 40,000 units by 2020, potentially positioning the partnership as one of the largest private student housing providers in the UK. Following those assets, the JV intends to deliver additional sites comprising 36,500 units across the United Kingdom, including Oxford, Nottingham, Edinburgh, Cambridge and Durham. Between 10 and 15 sites are planned in Central London alone.

According to the partnership, Qdos Student Homes will manage the new units like a hotel rather than traditional dormitories. This includes providing concierge-type service to tenants, “creating a one-stop-shop of services and benefits.” The projects will feature ensuite study bedrooms, 24-hour security, Wifi and range of amenities including gyms, coffee shops and drop-off laundry services. Students will also have complimentary access to the Qdos.me social network, which not only acts like a social network but also allows them to engage in online banking.

“Qdos Student Homes will operate these developments so that they set a new benchmark for student housing across the country,” comments Manor Property Group chairman William Addy. “By combining first-class accommodation and on-site services with a social network, which will fulfill demand for a new standard in the student sector, Qdos will establish new levels of customer service for both undergraduates and graduates.”

Adds Tom Spilsted, Lend Lease’s head of commercial management, “The Qdos model will raise the bar for this sector.” 

The agreement with Manor Property Group, says Steve McCann, chief executive officer and managing director of Lend Lease Group, “leverages the core capability of Lend Lease’s project management and construction business in the UK student accommodation sector, and adds to our construction work.”

The firm plans to continue its third-party construction work alongside its significant UK development pipeline. Previously, Lend Lease had partnered with the University of Sheffield to deliver 4,000 student housing beds through a combination of new build and refurbishment.