Property firm Adderstone Group has outlined plans for a £17m student accommodation development – the firm’s second in Newcastle city centre.
Proposals have been submitted to council planners by Ainsworth Spark Associates on behalf of the group, outlining plans for the 250-bed development, based on Stepney Road.
Car parking and cycle parking spaces will be included in the Stepney Studios development, which is due to be open in 2016 and comes days after the firm’s first student development, £17m Union Square opens its doors to its first residents.
The high-spec eight-storey apartment building houses 228 students from across the UK, as well as a large contingency of international students, and the building is almost fully-let.
Ian Baggett, chairman of Adderstone Group said: “We’re about to start Stepney Studios in Ouseburn, an area I’ve got a lot of confidence in. We are really creating a bit of a destination in the city.
“It’s going to be very high spec – we just wanted it to be a cut above the competition.
“It’s close to both university campuses and all amenities, and as with Union Square the price includes all bills, so it’s not much different to the amount you pay anywhere else.
“This is really exciting for us because it’s the culmination of around eight years of work.”
The two developments follow a rapidly-growing trend among developers who are investing heavily in constructing high-spec new-build accommodation for the expanding student population in Newcastle.
Ian Baggett, chairman of Adderstone Group said: “There are a few factors at play when it comes to the rise of new builds for students, some of which are general trends and some specific to Newcastle.
“In general terms, as students now pay for their tuition they demand and expect high quality accommodation – you don’t just come here for a degree, you want the whole experience.
“From my point of view, there has been a massive increase in international students in Newcastle. Where UK student numbers may have decreased universities like Northumbria are very adept at attracting students from overseas.
“And they are more used to living in blocks and don’t want to live in Jesmond or Heaton with people they don’t know.
“There will always be those who prefer to share houses, but regulations have been tightened up within HMOs (houses of multiple occupation) making it more difficult for landlords to let private accommodation to students.
“They have had to upgrade houses retrospectively, adhering to vigorous standards, so areas like Jesmond are being reclaimed by families as residential areas.
“I think there are a lot of sites in Newcastle. Is there a risk of over supply? No one knows for sure but I don’t think there is because these trends are strong.”
Unite Students, which already has three properties in Newcastle providing a home for around 1,000 students – Camden Court, Magnet Court and Manor Bank – is also due to start work on a Newcastle city centre site which could accommodate up to 600 learners.
The new £31m development, which still requires planning permission, could open as early as two years’ time if it gets the green light.
The property, the site of which has yet to be disclosed, will include communal space, en-suite cluster rooms, WiFi internet access and even free cleaning within shared flats.
A spokeswoman said: “We’re choosing to build a new property as the city has two strong universities which we expect to experience continued growth.
“There is a shortfall of student accommodation in Newcastle and by building accommodation within the city centre we’re helping to free up family homes which would otherwise be occupied by students, in locations that will benefit from a vibrant community of students.
“Newcastle is also strong destination for international students – after London our largest number of Chinese students live in Newcastle.
“Unite Students’ purpose is to provide a home for students that supports their success at university, whether defined as academic achievement, personal growth or preparing for the world of work.”
Meanwhile the Malhotra Group has also invested significantly in a complete refurbishment of Student Grove at Parrish Court, Shields Road, a purpose built development of student flats.
The development, which opens this autumn, has laundry facilities, a bike store, a 24-hour warden and has been designed to provide a family-like atmosphere, with a series of five and six bedroom flats.
“Heading off to study in an unfamiliar city can be daunting for students,” said Atul Malhotra, managing director of Newcastle-based The Malhotra Group, which owns Student Grove.
“It can also be pretty terrifying for parents to send their child off into the unknown on their own, which is why we took so much care over the development of Student Grove.
“The shared flats offer students privacy when they need it, but also companionship and the chance to make friends in a totally safe and secure environment.”
Dublin-based Ziggurat Students are also involved in four major student accommodation projects across the UK and Ireland, including a £7.5m redevelopment at Claremont Place, on the doorstep of Newcastle University.
The project, encompassing eight period townhouses, will create 89 self contained studios due for completion by summer 2015.
“We’ve definitely picked up the pace recently”, said Jim Pike of Ziggurat Students. “Working with our sister company Fawleybridge, under the management of Atelier Property Management Ltd, we’ve worked hard to identify and secure some really exciting properties.
“Expert management and ideal locations deliver exceptionally high occupancy rates, ensuring a very healthy return on investment.”