US private equity giant Blackstone Group has unveiled detailed plans for a student accommodation business

To be called Nido, Blackstone is to invest £95m in its first major student housing development in Kings Cross on Pentonville Road.

The AHMM-designed Nido London is expected to open in Spring 2007 with 846 student en-suite rooms, 50 private apartments, 14 affordable apartments, retail units and commercial space across two towers of 16 floors. Debt financing for the development has been provided by Royal Bank of Scotland.

As revealed in Property Week, Blackstone is planning to roll out this scheme in major cities across Europe (PW, 26.5.6). Blackstone has also acquired the 125,000 sq ft (11,612 sq m) Rodwell House on Middlesex Street in the City from GE Real Estate and Mark Glatman's Abstract Securities to turn into student halls.

Maureen McDermott, ex-managing director of IES Student Resident Hall in Chelsea, has been appointed as Nido student living manager of European student accommodation.

Prices per week are from £120 for a shared room and from £180 per week for a single room. Stuart Grant, managing director for the Blackstone Real Estate Group in London, said: ‘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.’