Gavin Duncan

Vita Student hires former Opal director

Ex-Opal operations director Gavin Duncan has joined student accommodation developer Vita Student as managing director.

Vita Student, based in Wilmslow, was founded in 2012 by Chris Oakes, owner of upmarket house builder Huntsmere and Mark Stott, chief executive of residential agency Select Property. Vita Student has 750 beds under development in five sites. There are three in Liverpool's Crosshall Street – one of them due to finish this month – another in Manchester's First Street and one in Bristol.

Duncan will initially focus on the September 2013 intake into the company's Liverpool portfolio before seeking further sites around the UK for rolling out the upmarket buy-to-let brand.

Vita Student was launched in 2012 by luxury developer Vita Ventures and there are currently five developments and more than 750 student apartments in its UK-wide portfolio, including projects in Liverpool, Manchester and Bristol.

Trevor Moore, chief executive of Vita Ventures, said: "We have an aggressive expansion plan for Vita Student, with the aim of doubling our number of student beds in the next year, by targeting new developments in top university cities across the UK.

"Our goal is to give all students the best possible experience by providing fantastic facilities and great service so they will want to stay with us for many years. We believe Gavin has all the necessary expertise and understanding to deliver this."

Duncan said: "With our forecast growth Vita Student will quickly become known as a leader in the luxury student accommodation market and I intend to ensure that the quality of the management at these developments will match the first-rate facilities.

"By working closely with the students and constantly adapting to their needs, I'm sure we can give an unrivalled level of service."

Opal Property Group collapsed into administration in March with debts of more than £1bn.

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