Sunday Territorian

Carparks housing plan

Student accommodat­ion option proposed for CBD

- Camden Smith

A major investor is working with the City of Darwin to develop student accommodat­ion options in the central business district.

Sentinel Property Group has held talks with Lord Mayor Kon Vatskalis in its search for locations to develop student accommodat­ion.

A number of CBD carparks have emerged as potential locations for developmen­t, including one at the corner of Mitchell and Daly streets.

Sentinel Property Group chief executive Warren Ebert said discussion­s with Mr Vatskalis for alternativ­e locations for student housing had been productive.

“The Lord Mayor sees there’s a challenge and an opportunit­y and we’re working with City of Darwin to find alternativ­e locations for accommodat­ion,” Mr Ebert said.

Mr Vatskalis said there was a “recognised” need for more student accommodat­ion in Darwin.

“Demand for student accommodat­ion is only going to grow, with CDU expecting at least 4000 additional overseas students in coming years,” he said.

“We support the developmen­t of additional housing in the city for students and essential workers and will consider any reasonable proposals put to us.”

A recent Property Council study identified on average, an overseas student living in PRSA spends $4400 a month, not including tuition, mostly in central business districts.

With an additional 4000 internatio­nal students in Darwin, that would mean an injection of an additional $17.6m a month into the CBD.

Sentinel’s plan to develop student accommodat­ion near the old Darwin Primary School in Frog Hollow were revealed in February.

The plan included several purpose-built student accommodat­ion blocks and provision for disability accommodat­ion.

Planning and Logistics Minister Eva Lawler said the government was still developing plans for the Frog Hollow site. Mr Ebert said government plans to grow student numbers in the NT to 10,000 at a time also required a substantia­l increase in housing stock.

“Without more accommodat­ion it’s holding everything back,” he said.

“The only purpose-built student accommodat­ion in all of the NT is the 300 rooms at Casuarina Square.”

Sentinel has developed a modular housing model that will slash constructi­on times and the required workforce.

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