Blackstone Announces New Concept in Student Living Accommodation

Monday 25th September, London: The Blackstone Group announces the development of a brand new first class student living concept. With an investment of over £95 million, The Blackstone Group is unveiling the Group’s first major student housing development, Nido London’ located on Pentonville Road in King’s Cross as part of the King’s Cross redevelopment programme and next to the Eurostar Terminal, London’s new gateway to Europe, due for opening in Spring 2007.

Operating under the brand name ‘Nido’ meaning nest in Spanish and Italian, Blackstone is focusing on an international roll out of this scheme following the launch of its flagship London site. Maureen McDermott, ex Managing Director of IES Student Resident Hall in
Chelsea has been brought in as Nido Student Living Manager of European Student Accommodation.

Having acquired the former landmark site of the Nat West offices, which were built in the 1970’s and 1980’s, the offices are currently undergoing a major re-development. The building is also having an additional podium block built around the base of the towers. Completion date is due for September 2007 and will cover 16 floors, will have a total net area 217,000sq ft and be 59.7m tall. This will comprise 846 student en-suite rooms, known as Nido cubes within the two towers housing 950 students, 50 private apartments, 14 affordable apartments, retail units and commercial space. Three retail units will front on to Pentonville Road totalling 14,143 sq ft. There is also 19,956 sq ft of commercial space with separate access off Pentonville Road.

There is a basement with 41 car parking spaces and 250 bicycle storage spaces. Prices per week are from £120 for a shared room and from £180 per week for a single room. ‘Nido Plus’ (personal room services) will include enhanced in-Cube high speed internet, free internet, VOIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol), online information services, separate study rooms and a free gym. Optional services will include cleaning and laundry pick-up.

“On the whole student living standards in the UK are awful. We have identified an opportunity to reinvent the student accommodation experience by launching ‘Nido’ in the heart of London’s King’s Cross. Nido offers students a unique high standard living product expected in today’s world. The Nido development will offer personal studio living space with high speed internet connection, interior designed rooms, amazing views across the city and above all a safe and secure community living environment in the centre of London”, says Stuart Grant, Managing Director for The Blackstone Real Estate Group in London.

Debt financing has been provided by Royal Bank of Scotland. The lawyers on the transaction are Clifford Chance. The asset management company is Generation Estates. The development manager is First Base. The refurbishment contractor is Bovis Lend Lease. The scheme architect is AHMM. The brand concept was developed by Winkreative, run by columnist, Tyler Brule.

The Blackstone Group
Real Estate

The Blackstone Group, a global private investment and advisory firm, was founded in 1985. The firm has raised a total of more then $63 billion for alternative asset investing of which approximately $12.7 billion has been for real estate investing. The firm has a long track record of investing in office buildings, hotels and other commercial properties. The Real Estate Group has approximately 40 experienced professionals who have a deep understanding of real estate across all product classes and geographic areas. In addition to Real Estate, The Blackstone Group’s core businesses include Private Equity Investing, Corporate Debt Investing, Hedge Funds, Mutual Fund Management, Private Placement, Marketable Alternative Asset Management, and Investment Banking Advisory Services. Further information is available at

Notes to Editors

The original scheme was conceived in 1971 by Sterling Land which was run by Stuart Lipton (now Sir Stuart Lipton). 35 years later the building refurbishment and conversion is being run for Blackstone by development managers First Base (a company owned by Elliot Lipton, Sir Stuart’s son).

  • From 1994 to 2005 the number of students in London has grown by 4% per annum with expectation for continued growth. (Source: Higher Education Statistics Agency)
  • There are currently 33,000 institutionally owned and operated student beds in London running at 100% occupancy with demand estimated at 120,000
  • There are approximately 250,000 full time students in Central London
  • Approx 82,000 higher education students in London are from overseas
  • 32,000 Chinese students are currently studying in the UK – up 62% since 1998
  • The expansion of the EU member states is expected to bring an additional 20,000 students to the UK over the next 3-5 years
  • Nido development situated next to the new Eurostar terminal, Gateway to Europe opening Spring 2007