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BigCity, a development, investment and property management company specialising in student and co-living accommodation across Europe, and Reditum Capital have agreed joint venture funding for the development of BigCity Asprela, a €30 million student accommodation facility in Porto’s main university district.


The joint venture funding marks the partners’ first entry into Portugal, a country characterised by a highly fragmented purpose-built student accommodation market with a significant supply-demand imbalance.


BigCity Asprela is a 241-bed student accommodation facility located at Asprela campus, Porto’s main university district and home to around 35,000 students. The 12-storey building, which was designed by OODA and is being built by Teixera Duarte, one of Iberia’s largest contractors, is on schedule for completion in July 2022 ahead of the start of the academic year.


BigCity Asprela will be instantly recognisable due to its circular design and its situation within a prominent part of the campus. All faculties will be within a 17-minute walk and it is conveniently located adjacent to Pólo Universitário Metro for quick access downtown.It will provide 209 studios, 22 twin beds and 10 premium rooms with en-suite bathrooms, kitchenettes, wardrobe and storage space, individual air conditioning and a private balcony.


Targeting international students, the development will be operated by CRM Students and have concierge and reception services, as well as generous amenity spaces, including TV and gaming, lounge and quiet study areas, communal and private dining, and a roof top terrace and gym with views over the city.


The advisers for the development are Gleeds, the project manager, CBRE, the planning consultant, JLL, the market adviser, and Edificios Saudaveis, the LEED and WELL sustainability consultant.


Mark Stephen, founder and managing director of Reditum Capital, said: “This transaction enables our investors to access a fantastic addition to Porto’s student accommodation offering.BigCity Asprela is

a compelling opportunity, as there is a significant supply-demand mismatch in Porto, owing particularly to the growth in international students.


“Compared to the mature UK student accommodation market, Portuguese student housing presents investors with an early entrant opportunity, buoyed by these strong supply and demand factors. There is a significant institutional investment appetite for this type of high-quality asset, and we will be seeking to bring BigCity Asprela to market in the next twelve months”.


Charlie Alcock, ex founding partner of M7 Real Estate and founder and CEO of BigCity, said; “Despite our first development being played out against the backdrop of the pandemic, the grade A location and high quality of design ultimately prevailed. This was in no small part due to the exceptional in-country professional team we had in place. This is exactly the type of development we want to be offering our investors – well located, interesting, sustainable buildings in the purpose-built student accommodation and co-living sectors, creating a stylish, inclusive living experience for the residents.We couldn’t have wished for a better start”.


BigCity Asprela marks the first of several sites the partners have identified to grow their platform of Iberian student and co-living developments. This is in line with their intention to capitalise on favourable market headwinds.


BigCity was advised by Greenberg Traurig in the UK and Cuatrecasas and Broseta in Portugal.