Acquisition & Development Manager

Competitive + Bonus + Benefits 

Unite Students are seeking development opportunities in London and other strong regional markets so have a new exciting opportunity for an Acquisition & Development Manager to join our fantastic Property team in London.

The main purpose of the job is to ensure the Project team reaches or exceeds its targets for the year through acquiring new opportunities and taking responsibility for seeing projects through the development process up to handover to our Operations teams.

The Acquisitionand Development Manager will be responsible for acquisitions and accountable for all Project team output including development management of new and existing pipeline sites, planning resolution, funding, practical completion and achievement of financial returns.

The wider team is responsible for delivering the Unite Students` development strategy. This involves negotiating and acquiring high quality development sites, obtaining planning consents, securing debt funding and managing the construction process through to end of defects period.

The team is responsible for delivering significant levels of NAV for the business on an annual basis. The team is made up ofAcquisition & Development, Commercial Management, Project Managers, Design & Planning, Finance Manager and support staff.

What You`ll Be Doing

Identification and acquisition of new pipeline opportunities

  • Building new and maintain existing relationships with land owners and property agents in order to secure pipeline opportunities
  • Analysing and appraising opportunities within existing and potential new markets
  • Appraising new opportunities having worked through design and cost with the Project team
  • Preparing Board presentations and papers to obtain approval for new projects
  • Undertaking negotiations and agreeing purchase transactions. This element requires the candidate to show they are entrepreneurial, a problem solver who can work through complex transactional and development management issues and the ability to communicate effectively with a broad range of landowners, consultants and internal team members.
  • Progressing with due diligence in terms of identifying appropriate surveys, reviewing legal contracts to achieve exchange and coordinating the satisfaction of conditions
  • Managing the legal process, identifying and responding to issues and risks as they arise
  • Managing the pipeline schedule, ensuring that bids are made on time and to the best possible quality
  • Contributing to, implementing and driving strategy for current and future projects

Achieve target return

  • Running detailed development and financial appraisals
  • Reviewing cash flow performance to ensure budgets are not being exceeded and that financial information/budgeting is accurate.
  • Identifying and overcoming any risk that arises with 3rd party suppliers and stakeholders
  • Negotiating and agreeing valuations for development sites
  • Working through value engineering opportunities with the Project team to maximise returns
  • Ensuring that the design of the building throughout the planning process remains in line with cost plans and budgets
  • Taking accountability for the delivery of projects in line with Board approved targets
  • Ability to negotiate complex transactional structures with land owners.

External relationships

  • Building relationships with key external stakeholders such as universities, land agents, valuers, developers and bankers in order to achieve other objectives

Project team leadership

  • Inspiring, leading and motivating the Project team with accountability for overall performance
  • Leading reporting of Project team performance at each monthly business review meeting


  • Coordinating the delivery of title and construction documents including warranties and all necessary information to ensure timely draw down of funds from development facilities

What We`re Looking for in You


  • Surveying, commercial or property company experience
  • MRICS qualified
  • Ability to demonstrate experience in negotiating and executing a property transaction
  • Experience in running development appraisals/understanding of valuations and an understanding of the development process
  • Demonstrable strong negotiation skills with ability to think on their feet and able to navigate complex development issues/transactions.
  • Strong computer literacy
  • Ability to work at pace whilst maintaining a high level of accuracy and attention to detail
  • Possesses a positive and collegiate attitude, with the ability to adapt swiftly and a willingness to undertake challenging tasks to ensure customer/ stakeholder satisfaction
  • Self-motivated and possessing the ability to work on own initiative and as within a team
  • Evidence of working in a fast paced, high change environment and able to manage multiple demands effectively
  • A quick learner, demonstrates a capability and willingness to acquire and apply new skills and learning
  • Well-developed communication and influencing skills, able to communicate effectively, both orally and in writing
  • Ability to build relationships and influence internal and external stakeholders
  • Ability to create and maintain relationships across wide geographical area
  • Ability to travel throughout the UK with a full driving licence


  • Development experience, including negotiating and acquiring a development site
  • Demonstrable leadership capability
  • A knowledge of the student accommodation market
  • A knowledge of and contacts within regional markets

What You`ll Get in Return

  • An annual bonus so you can share in the company`s success
  • 25 days` paid holiday
  • Pension - based on how much you save, we`ll contribute 1% more
  • Flexible working opportunities
  • Shared Parental Leave - 18 weeks full pay
  • Other benefits include, ShareSave, Bike to Work, Charity Match, amazing discounts and more!

About Unite Students

Founded in 1991, Unite Students is a FTSE 100 business and the UK`s leading provider of purpose-built student accommodation. You can find us in 25 leading university towns and cities, with 74,000 students calling US home! We are driven by our values, culture, and a commitment to develop diverse and inclusive teams, filled with positive energy and new ideas.

Instinctive inclusion. We know that to create and maintain a happy healthy organisation, we have to work hard to ensure inclusion isn`t just what we do but who we are.

People make Unite Students. Employees, students and neighbours all contribute to building environments where we can all thrive.

Room for Everyone

We`re proud to be an employer that embraces individuality, and we`re passionate about building inclusive teams. We focus on creating a collaborative culture where you can be you, where your voice is heard, and where you can truly belong. We take great pride in being rated Gold Investors in People and are constantly striving to provide the highest standard of learning and development opportunities and professional pathways for our people. Building a home for success, for both our employees and students, requires exceptional people with a passion for creating room for everyone, doing what`s right, keeping US safe, and raising the bar. Join us as we build better experiences for students that live with us.

We are US.


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