Belfast Telegraph

Belfast student developments to get boost in room numbers

By John Mulgrew

Two major student housing developments in Belfast are set to get bigger amid fresh plans.

McAleer & Rushe is currently building a 740-bedroom development at College Avenue which will have 647 bedrooms, 93 studio rooms and retail outlets on the ground floor.

It's also creating a 476-bedroom scheme at McClintock Street.

But the Co Tyrone firm is planning to increase the size of both buildings.

This includes adding a further 14 rooms for the smaller McClintock Street development, and another seven to the larger College Avenue building, which will also include two extensions on the 10th and 11th floors.

A spokesman for the firm said "planning applications have been submitted to formalise an internal reconfiguration of the space resulting in a small increase to the number of student bedrooms within the approved developments".

Planning for the initial construction of both original schemes has been approved.

McAleer & Rushe, based in Cookstown, recently doubled its pre-tax profits to £10m and is said to be close to landing more high-profile projects.

Last year, the company was on-site with 22 projects at the end of the year.

McAleer & Rushe is also working on the construction of a Maldron Hotel at Brunswick Street in the centre of Belfast.

Elsewhere in the city, Olympian Homes at Nelson Street is planning to bring a further 774 bedrooms to the city.

Around 7,500 rooms are currently at different stages of development.

Lacuna Developments and Welsh property firm Watkin Jones are behind a number of other projects.

They include the 317-bedroom Swanston Hall on the corner of Queen Street.

Work is also almost complete on a 156-bedroom student building on Dublin Road.

Construction work commenced earlier this year on a 474 bedroom student accommodation scheme at 28-30 Great Patrick Street in Belfast, which will see an overall investment of £37m in the city. The project is being developed by Olympian Homes and is expected to be completed in late August 2018

In May, it emerged that the developers behind a 620-bed student accommodation scheme that was to be part of a £300m Belfast regeneration plan are appealing a decision to refuse it planning permission.

The Northside Regeneration body and the former Department for Social Development (DSD) wanted to have the building, which would include housing and retail and leisure facilities, near Royal Avenue in the city centre.

However, DSD pulled out last year, saying developers "should no longer benefit from the potential use of the department's statutory powers".

The project was subsequently refused permission, but Northside Regeneration and Balfour Beatty are appealing the decision to the Planning Appeals Commission.

Belfast Telegraph

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