Operis acted for bond finance monoline, Financial Security Assurance, and bond arrangers, Royal Bank of Canada, in the issuing of £141.8m of index-linked public bonds by Catalyst Higher Education (Sheffield) plc, a joint venture between Bovis Lend-Lease and HSBC Infrastructure. This landmark transaction is the largest UK University accommodation project financing to date and the first funded by publicly-listed bonds. Financial close was achieved on 19 May 2006.
The project itself involves the construction of new purpose-built accommodation for up to 4,000 students in the Endcliffe and Ranmoor districts, demolition of old stock and some refurbishment. It also involves building a retail and public space for students. The project company will be responsible for hard facilities management (FM) services, while the university will take care of the soft services.
By creating a student village, the university aims to return many residential properties to private family use, generate new private homes by the redevelopment of existing university sites and preserve historic buildings and features in the area.