£14m plan for new city cen­tre stu­dent block

Belfast Telegraph - Business Telegraph - - News - BY RYAN MCALEER

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.”

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