100-bed Student Scheme in Aberdeen Approved

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Plans put forward to develop student accommodation next to a popular city pub in Aberdeen have been approved.

Aberdeen City Council has given the green light to build purpose-built student accommodation next to the Bobbin Mill pub on King Street.

Submitted by West Coast Estates last year, the development will result in the creation of 100 student beds, as well as up to three retail units.

The scheme will also include space for 50 bicycles as well as a dedicated garden.

Director of West Coast Estates, Iftikar Mian suggested the current site was an eye soar, but an ideal location for student accommodation.

Mr Mian added: "We are delighted that the plans have been approved by Aberdeen City Council.

"We have sought to work closely with the council and indeed all those with an interest in the proposals and I would like to take this opportunity to thank them for their input.
There are very few locations in the city that have such an enviable setting, one that is directly adjacent to the University of Aberdeen but importantly has excellent connectivity to the city centre and beyond.

"Significant investment will now come forward to transform this eyesore into a carefully and well thought-out mixed-use development that residents and others can be proud of."

98 Student Beds Earmarked for Former Coventry Office

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A former newspaper office in Coventry is set to become student flats if planning permission is granted.

The student accommodation earmarked for Greyfriars House will come equipped with a private gym and cinema.

Developers Blue Bear Management Ltd want to create a total of 98 student beds split across a mix of one, two and three bedroom flats.

To facilitate the student bedrooms, they would also need to add a further two storeys to the building, resulting in a five-storey block.

If given the go-ahead students that accommodate the building will have to sign a contract agreeing not to park within two miles of the building apart from in pay-and-display car parks.

In addition to the gym, common room and cinema available to students, there will also be a bicycle store with enough room for 33 bicycles.

The current building is situated at the back of the former Coventry Post Office, which has already been developed into student housing, but has remained unused after the law firm Newsome Vaughan vacated the property.

A decision on the application is expected to be made at the beginning of June.

UniCity Pulls Out of Belfast Student Development

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Plans to build one of Belfast's largest student accommodation developments has been put on hold after the site was put up for sale.

Developer UniCiti had planned to build an 11-storey student accommodation scheme with 354 bedrooms. Originally the developers had lined up Collegiate AC to manage the accommodation once operational.

Situated on Little Patrick Street, the vacant land is now being marketed and sold off as a "student development opportunity".

The plans were given the green light by Belfast City Council last year, but now the land has gone on the market with commercial property firm Savills.

According to promotional material "the property is perfectly positioned for student accommodation, approximately 200m from the new Ulster University campus and 350m from the Central Library".

Around 4,000 student bed spaces have already been approved in Belfast, with many of those located in and around the York Street area, close to the new Ulster University campus.

UniCity had argued, even if all managed beds were approved and built it would account for less than 25% of all available student beds, which is a lower proportion than many other cities.

However, others have suggested there isn't the demand for thousands of student beds, which have already been granted planning permission.

In particular, Dairmid Laird of lettings agents Laird believes students will continue to favour cheaper, privately-owned housing over purpose-built student accommodation.

Keele University Wins Approval for Its Student Housing Transformation

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Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough council have unanimously approved plans by UPP and Keele University to build £160m worth of new student accommodation.

The scheme will transform student housing on the Keele University campus, providing around 1,300 students with accommodation by increasing available student bed spaces to 4,300 over the next five years.

The University wishes to expand from 10,000 to 13,000 students by 2020 and the construction of 2,300 high-quality affordable rooms will help the university meet this ambition.

Work is due to start later this year and will be undertaken in a number of phases. The scheme will see new build projects at the Lindsay, Horwood and Barnes halls on the university's main campus.

This latest partnership will boost UPP's portfolio to around 36,000 rooms through long-term partnerships with 16 leading universities across the UK. Once the deal goes through, UPP will have invested around £2bn in universities across the UK since 1998.

Planning consultants, Indigo Planning, said of the application: "Following a comprehensive and successful public consultation, this scheme is considered a welcome addition to the university by staff, students and local residents alike and will be a real asset to the University's vision for the future.

"It is a stand-out scheme, the comprehensive accommodation enhancement and expansion programme will further improve Keele's world-class campus, alongside its current exemplar teaching facilities."

Falmouth Student Development Faces Increasing Opposition

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Residents looking to block plans to build student housing on the former Coachworks site off Penwerris Lane in Falmouth have won the support of the town council.

Plans were put forward by AGR Living to build a 135-bed student accommodation scheme, but quickly faced tough opposition. In total 136 objections were lodged with Cornwall Council and Falmouth Town Council's planning committee has now also backed residents' opposition to the plans.

Local residents argued the student housing scheme was totalling out of keeping with the local area, would place a strain on local infrastructure and would lead to problems with highways and parking.

The objections were supported by councillors who unanimously recommended Cornwall Council refused the application.

According to councillors the massing of the development would significantly change the street scene, parking in the area would be exacerbated and the transport plan submitted as part of the application was inadequate.

Commenting on the proposals, councillor Alan Jewell said: "Something will go there, now is our chance to push for something for local people to go there. I think people who live there would be more supportive of that. I cannot support this."

Mapletree Raises $535 Million for Its Student Accommodation Trust

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Singapore-listed Mapletree Investments Pte Ltd has successfully raised $535 million for its Mapletree Global Student Accommodation Private Trust (MGSA P-Trust).

The Singapore-based trust focuses on the student accommodation market and currently holds around $1.3 billion in student housing assets, totalling 14,000 beds, across the UK and United States.

Around $243.25 million of equity was raised for the 5,910-bed UK portfolio and $291 million for the 8,363-bed US portfolio. The funding has a term of five years, with a provision for a one-year extension.

The Trust is managed by Mapletree Real Estate Advisors Ptd. Ltd, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Mapletree. The group company will retain a 35% stake in MGSA P-Trust, within the range of stakes it has taken in its other sponsored funds and trusts.

The largest investors include The Great Eastern Life Assurance Company Limited, as well as DBS Bank and UBS AG, who are investing in the Trust on behalf of their high net worth clients.

Commenting on the funding, Mapletree's Group CEO, Hiew Yoon Khong, said: "The successful close of MGSA P-Trust is testament to investors' confidence in Mapletree's track record of delivering the desired returns levels. Opting for the private track also allowed us to bring the product to market quickly, and is more cost effective to set up and operate on an ongoing basis, without the lengthy process to launch and IPO and the increasing compliance costs to maintain a REIT."

Hiew also indicated the company will continue to develop innovate real estate investment products and that investors into MGSA P-Trust will be able to achieve strong returns from an asset class proven to be relatively anti-cyclical.

Nottingham Trent Proposes Office Space for Former Indian Restaurant

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Nottingham Trent University have submitted plans to build a 16,300 sq ft office building on the site of a former Indian restaurant on Goldsmith Street.

If approved, the offices would be able to accommodation 200 people on the site of the demolished former Posh Spice building at 23 Goldsmith Street, located next to Rescue Rooms and Stealth.

Nottingham Trent University says it wants to build the office space to "further cement the university's profile in the area."

Commenting on the application, director of estates and resources for Nottingham Trent University, Ged O'Donoghue, said: "Nottingham Trent University is keen to regenerate the site and we have submitted planning permission for the construction of a new building. We are in the process of drawing up detailed proposals for its future use, which could include office and teaching space."

Architects CPMG have been designated as designing the development and suggested take up for office space had been constrained due to the lack of quality A grade office space. This has resulted in a requirement of 250,000 sq ft.

They also said: "If there is to be continued growth within these sectors and other office based industries it is essential that there is a continued investment into grade A office space. Under investment in this area could lead to Nottingham losing its position as a regional centre for business and being unable to compete with other Core Cities such as Bristol, Leeds and Manchester."

Leeds Council Approve 376-bed Scheme

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Leeds City Council planners have approved Vita Student's proposal to develop a student accommodation scheme on land between St Alban's Place and Belgrave Street.

The development will consist of 376 apartments along with social spaces, and the building will be up to 18 storeys tall.

Vita Student, which is owned by Select Property Group, also plans to create a small park at the New Briggate site and there will be enough space for a new bar and restaurant.

Commenting on the application, Lee McLean, managing director of Vita Student, said: "We are thrilled to be launching our first development in Leeds.

"The location at New Briggate will enable us to improve current public areas and revitalise the site, whilst still retaining the green features and mature trees the area currently benefits from."

Planning consultants Deloitte argued the development would raise the bar for student accommodation in Leeds city centre.

Peter Gleave, senior planner at Deloitte, also said: "As well as new residential units, Vita Student will create extensive commercial space and residents will benefit from comprehensive redevelopment of the adjoining park. This development will create an outstanding hub for students and, having successfully worked with Select on a number of major schemes in recent years, it is pleased to see this exciting development move one step closer to realisation."

Keele University Seeks an Additional 1,400 Student Beds

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Keele University is looking to make a significant investment into student housing as part of a major transformation project.

Plans have been submitted to increase the amount of on campus student accommodation in Keele to just over 4,330 from the current 2,886.

The proposals call for the demolition of several of the university's current student halls including Lindsay, Horwood and Barnes. In its place, new student accommodation will be joined by three social hubs as well as a new music and teaching facility, medical facility and facilities for Keele Postgraduate Association.

In partnership with UPP Projects Ltd, Keele University is seeking planning permission to demolish 366 student bed-spaces at Barnes Hall and the erection of seven new halls of residence, consisting of cluster flats and townhouse blocks, which will provide 617 new student beds.

At Horwood Hall the plans call for the demolition of 266 student beds and the construction of 13 new halls. This will include the construction of seven cluster flat blocks and six townhouse blocks. In total 915 new student beds will be created.

Finally, at Lindsay Hall, 241 student beds will be demolished, which will be replaced by 10 new halls of residence consisting of seven cluster flat blocks and three townhouse blocks. In total the development will add a further 814 beds.

In addition to the new student housing, the project will seek to remodel some of the retained accommodation.

A planning statement submitted as part of the application, said: "The university's brief is to expand and enhance its residential portfolio.

"The scale of the re-development, covering a considerable proportion of the university's campus, means that it will be a transformational project.

"The overall residential project is an opportunity to increase the amount and improve the quality of the accommodation offer on campus.

"It is also an opportunity to update the existing residential stock, providing a balance of accommodation types."

The university currently has around 10,000 students enrolled, but their 2020 strategy will seek to increase this to 13,000. As a result there is expected to be increasing demand for affordable campus accommodation in Keele.

The £150 million scheme has backing from city planners and is expected to be approved at a meeting this week.

Dublin Council Blocks Student Developments

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Dublin council has ordered two substantial student accommodation developments to be redesigned due to concerns of overcrowding.

City Council planners have blocked the two schemes, which combined would have delivered more than 1,000 student beds, until developers can justify the need for additional student housing.

In particular, the developers have been asked to justify the requirement for student accommodation over standard residential accommodation.

The larger of the two schemes proposes the demolition of the Park Shopping Centre on Prussia Street and replacing it was a 541-bed student accommodation development along with new shopping facilities.

However, the council raised "serious concerns regarding the overall height, scale and massing" of the proposed six-storey block and has therefore asked for the height of the building to be reduced.

Planners also questioned the effect the development might have on the National Transport Authority's plans for a bus rapid transit link from Blanchardstown to UCD.

To the east of the campus, the proposed 440-bed student scheme must also be redesigned.

The council raised concerns about the impact of the proposal on nearby Great Western Square, an architectural conservation area.

They've also asked developers to provide evidence that housing would be used by students at a recognised third-level institution or higher education institute. As a result, the applicants must provide evidence of links with these institutions or expressions of interest in the student accommodation.

Commenting on both applications, the council said it was concerned they would contribute to an "over-concentration of student accommodation" in the general northwest inner city area.