Stu­dent scheme is bought over by joint ven­ture be­hind four city de­vel­op­ments

Belfast Telegraph - Business Telegraph - - News - BY JOHN MUL­GREW

A STU­DENT ac­com­mo­da­tion scheme in Belfast has been sold off to a de­vel­oper be­hind sim­i­lar projects else­where in the city.

La­cuna De­vel­op­ments and Watkin Jones Group have pur­chased 26-44 Lit­tle Pa­trick Street, which has plan­ning per­mis­sion for 354 stu­dent rooms. It had been owned by de­vel­oper Unic­iti. They are also due to in­crease the size of the scheme, amid plans to raise the bed­room num­bers to 430.

The joint ven­ture of La­cuna and Watkin Jones is also be­hind the now open John Bell House stu­dent de­vel­op­ment, at Col­lege Av­enue in Belfast city cen­tre.

It’s also be­hind a new 340-bed­room stu­dent scheme at Queen Street.

La­cuna is also putting the fin­ish­ing touches to its stu­dent de­vel­op­ment on the Dublin Road.

The to­tal value of all the schemes is es­ti­mated to be worth £70m.

An­thony Best, man­ag­ing di­rec­tor of La­cuna De­vel­op­ments, said: “We look for­ward to de­liv­er­ing a fourth stu­dent ac­com­mo­da­tion scheme, and se­cur­ing more than £100m of in­vest­ment for the city.

“In Septem­ber 2019, the com­ple­tion of the Ul­ster Univer­sity cam­pus will bring 15,000 more stu­dents and staff to this area of Belfast. The re­vised plans for Lit- tle Pa­trick Street will con­trib­ute less than 1% of the ac­com­mo­da­tion re­quired.

“Through our ex­pe­ri­ences with John Bell House, Dublin Road and Ath­letic Stores we have built up our un­der­stand­ing of the stu­dent mar­ket and de­mand in Belfast.

“Our changes to the scheme will pro­vide the right mix of stu­dio and clus­ter bed­rooms to meet de­mand from the mar­ket.

“Re­con­fig­u­ra­tion of the in­ter­nal lay­out has al­lowed us to cre­ate a sec­ond out­side amenity space, and in­crease the num­ber of beds from 354 to 430.

“This will add an ad­di­tional floor to the pro­posed ac­com­mo­da­tion. How­ever, as a re­sult of the re­con­fig­u­ra­tion we have re­duced the over­all height of the build­ing by ap­prox­i­mately three me­tres.”

The de­vel­op­ers are now car­ry­ing out a 12-week con­sul­ta­tion for the re­vised plans.

Mean­while, two other ma­jor stu­dent hous­ing de­vel­op­ments in Belfast are set to get big­ger amid fresh plans. Mcaleer & Rushe is cur­rently build­ing a de­vel­op­ment at Col­lege Av­enue which will have 647 bed­rooms, 93 stu­dio rooms and re­tail out­lets on the ground floor.

It’s also cre­at­ing a 476-bed­room scheme at Mcclin­tock Street. But the Co Ty­rone firm is plan­ning to in­crease the size of both build­ings.

This in­cludes adding a fur­ther 14 rooms for the smaller Mcclin­tock Street de­vel­op­ment, and an­other seven to the larger Col­lege Av­enue build­ing, which will in­clude two ex­ten­sions on the 10th and 11th floors.

Else­where in the city, Olympian Homes at Nel­son Street is plan­ning to bring a fur­ther 774 bed­rooms to the city. In May, it emerged that the de­vel­op­ers be­hind a 620-bed stu­dent ac­com­mo­da­tion scheme that was to be part of a £300m Belfast re­gen­er­a­tion plan are ap­peal­ing a de­ci­sion to refuse it plan­ning per­mis­sion.

The North­side Re­gen­er­a­tion body had wanted to de­velop the build­ing, which would in­clude hous­ing and re­tail and leisure fa­cil­i­ties. But the for­mer De­part­ment for So­cial De­vel­op­ment (DSD) pulled its sup­port for the over­all scheme.

De­vel­op­ments: An­thony Best

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