Investor appetite for student accommodation has taken a further step forward in Newcastle with news that Brims Construction has started worked on a £15m scheme.
The 270-bedroom scheme on land at Coquet Street in the Ouseburn area, the city’s emerging cultural and creative quarter, is being backed by Hong Kong-based financiers Bricks Capital.
Sunderland-based Brims Construction is already on site at the development – known as Glass Works – which will provide 200 construction jobs and feature an unusual building technique.
The development comprises five separate blocks around a private courtyard and three of these blocks are constructed from shipping container pods, which are built in China, and arrive on site completely fitted out as bedrooms and bathrooms.
Jason Taylor, director at Rochdale-based Elan Construction Management, which is leading the project on behalf of Bricks Capital, said: “This is a fantastic site for the development within easy walking distance of both of the city’s main universities.
“The Ouseburn district is fast becoming the Camden of Newcastle. Developments such as the Glass Works are popular with students and parents, providing high-spec accommodation in a safe and secure environment.
“There is a real appetite in the investment community for student schemes such as these, which can guarantee healthy returns over a lengthy period.
“Brims Construction was the outstanding bidding contractor, with an impressive track-record, and we are delighted to have them on board.”
The five blocks at the Glass Works will be either four of five storeys high, with the remaining two blocks to be constructed from timber frame.
The container pods are constructed by multi-billion dollar Chinese company CIMC (China International Marine Containers) and this is the first student project CIMC has done in the UK, though the technology has been used for hotels.
Richard Wood, director at Brims Construction said: “We have worked with Bricks Capital for some time now to finalise both the financial and delivery aspects of the scheme and are delighted to be involved in the project.
“We’ve carried out different types of ‘pre-fabricated’ builds before, but nothing to this kind of extent. It’s taken a great deal of coordination between our team and designers along with Bricks Capital, to get things this far and we’re looking forward to delivering what we think is the first modular build of this type in Newcastle.
“We hope it might become a bit of a niche market for us moving forward.”
The development will feature a mixture of en-suite student rooms and self-contained studios, all fully furnished, providing students with access to high speed broadband and satellite television.
Communal kitchens and common rooms will be incorporated for each cluster, which studio rooms will be self-contained, and students will have access to chill-out/media rooms and lounges with two of the blocks housing the laundry, management and security offices.
Phase one, comprising 151 rooms, will be complete in August and phase two is due to complete by the end of the year.
Glass Works comes weeks after the Adderstone Group started on a 250-bed student development called Stepney Yard in Ouseburn, the firm’s second student scheme which comes a few months after the opening of £17m Union Square.
Meanwhile in Newcastle city centre Carillion and Thompsons of Prudhoe are on site in Westgate Group, working on the 259-bed student residence for Select Property Group.
The new-build will be opened under the Vita Student brand – and half the studio apartments have already been sold.
Plans have also been approved by Newcastle City Council to develop the former Barclays Bank on Grey Street into 116 bedrooms with shared kitchens.