Construction is underway on the latest multi-million pound student accommodation project in Newcastle city centre – and half the studio apartments have already been sold.
Select Property Group has enlisted construction giant Carillion who are carrying out groundworks, the first stage of work to transform a city centre eyesore on Westgate Road into the brand new student scheme for hundreds of young residents.
The student block is going up on land once occupied by the former Westgate House, a concrete carbuncle which was knocked down seven years ago following a campaign for its demolition.
The site, which has lain empty ever since, sits alongside the empty Norwich Union House which will now also be taken apart to make way for the new structure.
Centreland worked with Select Property Group, which has offices in London and Manchester, to gain all the necessary planning permission and now the property firm has taken over full ownership, building the site under the Vita Student brand.
The finished 259-bed residence represents the ninth Vita Student residence for the firm, and units are now up for sale to investors. The front of the building also has space for a restaurant or bar.
The firm said the block will represent “the next generation of student accommodation”, with an emphasis on giving more consideration to the overall living experience rather than just delivering high quality accommodation.
The self-contained studios will be set over seven storeys and extra facilities are included, including a large communal ‘hub’ space which gives students a shared social area with a cinema room, games area and gym as well as amenities such as a laundry and shared study rooms.
Vita Student achieved 100% occupancy across its five new sites, with nearly 1,000 beds occupied in Manchester, Liverpool, Bristol, Exeter and Southampton – and there are high expectations those figures will be mirrored on Tyneside.
Savills’ investment rankings recently promoted Newcastle to the top tier in its 2014 Spotlight on UK Student Housing report and the city currently has one of the highest purpose-built accommodation premiums in the whole of the UK.
International clients have already seen potential in the Newcastle project and 50% of the studio apartments have already been sold off-plan to the Select Property Group database.
The remaining properties are now available to buy, with prices ranging from £86,000 to £159,000.
Mark Stott, chief executive officer at Select Property Group said: “The investment demand for purpose-built student accommodation (PBSA) has sky-rocketed in recent years and the sector has certainly proven itself in a testing economic environment, with many private providers now coming to the fore.
“While others can say they build luxury living quarters, Vita Student has evolved the PBSA concept and risen above the general market due to its commitment to providing students with the ultimate living experience.
“As has been proven by the 100% occupancy level at the other residences in our portfolio we have got the proposition spot-on and created an inimitable product.”
The scheme will be completed in May 2016,