Property Week’s ‘Big Interview’ with Arlington Chief Executive George Shweiry

In his first ever media interview, Arlington Advisors’ Chief Executive George Shweiry, together with Managing Director Sean McKeown, reveals how the company pulled off a £280m deal last year, the sector’s second biggest of 2018

Arlington Advisors Chief Executive George Shweiry and Managing Director Sean McKeown
Arlington Advisors Chief Executive George Shweiry (left) and Managing Director Sean McKeown (right)

Having risen in the ranks to Managing Director for Europe and the Middle East in the Capital Trust Group over a 19-year period, George set up Arlington Advisors with the aim of focusing on office investment.

However, in 2013 the opportunity to buy a student accommodation portfolio presented itself. The deal introduced him to Sean McKeown, who at the time was commercial director UK and development director Europe and US at Campus Living Villages (CLV).

In October 2013, Arlington and CLV bought a 4,539-bed portfolio from the collapsed Opal Group for around £245m. The deal instantly gave Arlington a presence in seven UK cities: London, Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds, Birmingham, Newport and Nottingham.

In January last year Arlington bought the Study Inn portfolio for £135m. With 10 sites in the university towns and cities of Coventry, Nottingham, Sheffield and Cambridge, the deal added 1,494 rooms to the group’s holdings.

Talbot-House-Nottingham-Exterior
Talbot House, Nottingham, recently acquired by Arlington Advisors

Then, in December last year, the company made an even bigger splash, acquiring two portfolios in a joint venture with investor firm Equitix for £280m.

The deal, which completed last month, was 2018’s second biggest in the UK for the sector and made Arlington the country’s largest independently owned student accommodation platform.

Last year also saw Arlington launch a £400m fund with Rothschild as its lead adviser.

The company currently has around £1.2bn of assets under management covering a portfolio of 13,000 beds across 39 assets in 19 locations.

Read the full interview with Property Week reporter Emanuele Midolo here.

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