Watkin Jones

Watkin Jones - Recruitment


Established in 1791, the Watkin Jones business has evolved from a joinery manufacturer and undertaker into a regional building contractor, and subsequently into a UK wide developer, specialising in large scale PBSA and residential developments.

In 1999, the business completed its first student accommodation project, for Opal (acting as contractor), in Manchester and subsequently, having recognised the opportunity presented by the student accommodation market, reorganised the business into three specialised divisions:

  • student accommodation;
  • residential development; and
  • general construction

Due to reducing availability of debt in the late 2000s, the Group identified alternative methods of delivering new developments through a forward sale model, in association with its institutional partners, which is the main development funding structure that the Group currently utilises.

Recognising demand from blue chip institutional investors for specialist asset management services for student accommodation sites, Fresh Student Living was established in 2010. Fresh provides management services to investors who want exposure to the student accommodation asset class, allowing Watkin Jones to offer an end-to-end solution to its clients.

In 2015 the Group took the strategic decision to cease its operations in general construction contracting and focus on student accommodation and multi occupancy private rented sector (‘PRS’) developments (which have operational similarities with PBSA developments) on a forward sale model basis, in addition to continuing its operations in residential development.

By the end of 2015 the Group has delivered over 28,000 student beds across 88 sites in the UK, and has become a leading participant in the UK private student accommodation industry.

Mission & Vision

Watkin Jones provides an end-to-end solution in developing large scale, multi occupancy accommodation projects, with a primary focus on the student accommodation market.

The Company is one of very few players that operate across the entire development lifecycle from site procurement, planning and construction to ultimate scheme management. Watkin Jones’s end to end solution is unusual and this combined with its considerable track record and existing relationships with investors could provide a degree of protection if competition in the sector increases due to the attractive market dynamics that exist.

The Director’s believe that the focus, market knowledge and ability to work across the entire development cycle can potentially help provide it a competitive advantage and ability to enhance returns. Watkin Jones’s geographical coverage, its focus on and experience in the sector leaves it well placed to compete with other market participants who either do not specialise in student accommodation or operate an owner/asset manager model.

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