£14m plan for new city centre student block
CO Tyrone property developer Mcaleer and Rushe has submitted its latest bid to construct student accommodation in the centre of Belfast.
Fresh from completing a £70m project for Queen’s University, adding 1,200 student rooms in two major new city centre builds, the Cookstown-based firm has submitted a planning application for a 15-storey structure between Great Victoria Street and the Dublin Road. The £14m Little Victoria Street project proposes the demolition of the existing buildings on the site and the erection of 265 new units over 15 floors.
The bid, submitted to planners at Belfast City Council on October 11, also proposes a ground floor retail unit.
Student accommodation in the city centre has been expanding at a rapid rate since Ulster University announced its plan to relocate its Jordanstown campus to York Street. It’s expected to bring an additional 15,000 students and university staff to the city centre, adding to the 21,000 students already studying at Queen’s University. The result has been a surge in the development of student accommodation.
Mcaleer and Rushe’s Elms BT1 and Elms BT2 projects have been the biggest to date, adding 474 rooms at College Avenue and 490 at Mcclintock Street. Olympian has just completed a £37m 11-storey project opposite Ulster University at Great Patrick Street, which comprises 474 bedrooms.
Lacuna Watkins Jones has also become a key company in the sector. Over 2016 and 2017, it opened the £10m Botanic Studios on Dublin Road and the £16m John Bell House in College Square, adding 573 new units.
The joint venture by Holywood-based Lacuna and Welsh developer Watkin Jones is now constructing 430 bedrooms at Little Patrick Street and another 317 units at Swanston Hall on Queen Street. It has also been given the green light for a 16-storey buy-torent next to Ulster University at Academy Street.
Turkington Construction is planning a 400 bed unit at 123 York Street, while York Street Student Properties is behind a £35m project on 101 York Street, to add 717 bedrooms. According to the Future Belfast website, four more major student accommodation projects have been green-lit for the city centre, with another five at the proposal stage.
In its submission to planners for its latest student venture, Mcaleer and Rushe said: “The completion of this development will provide the city centre with an important new project that will become another symbol of its continuing urban regeneration.
“In addition to providing over 200 student accommodation (units) and 4,000 sq ft of retail space, the development will have the potential to bring back to life an important street in the heart of the city centre.”