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Proposals are submitted for Belfast's biggest student rooms development

By John Muilgrew

Published 24/06/2016

An artist’s impression of the new 774-bedroom development at Nelson Street
An artist’s impression of the new 774-bedroom development at Nelson Street

Plans are being made to build Belfast's biggest development of student accommodation.

The 774-bedroom project would sit at Nelson Street, close the Ulster University campus.

Olympian Homes and Like Architects have submitted a planning application for the scheme.

If it goes ahead, the project would be the largest of its kind in the city.

Olympian Homes said on its website: "Plans have been submitted for the redevelopment of land at Great Georges Street and Little York Street, Belfast.

"The proposed development consists of 774 bedrooms of purpose-built managed student accommodation.

"(This would be) in a mix of studio apartments and cluster flats, together with associated amenity and circulation space."

The project is the latest in string of student accommodation scheme in Belfast.

In March, a 740-bedroom proposal for College Avenue was given the go-ahead.

The development, by McAleer and Rushe, will comprise 647 bedrooms, including 93 studio rooms, with retail outlets.

There are also plans to build an 11-storey mixed-use development in Belfast comprising student apartments and retail space.

Student City Ltd is behind project, which has been earmarked for 48-52 York Street.

It would be based at the currently vacant building, which is due to be knocked down.

The housing would be made up of 307 student apartments, alongside three retail outlets and a gym.

It is being designed by architects Robinson McIlwaine.

It was originally planned as a 14-storey development but has been reduced in scale.

It will also be seven storeys high and will adjoin two existing buildings on York street.

Those behind the mixed-use project said the proposed scheme "represents a stylish landmark development".

They also claimed that it could be worth approximately £30m, and would create around 250 construction jobs during a two-year build period.

"The application should therefore be determined in accordance with the Northern Ireland Executive's Programme for Government, whereby the quantum of investment and job creation should be given additional determining weight and that a decision will be made within six months of submission," a spokesman said.

More than 2,000 student rooms have already been given the green light right across Belfast, with many of those in and around the York Street area, close to Ulster University.

Around 7,500 are at various different stages of development, with several projects under way.

According to two studies, however, if all the 7,500 beds were approved, that would still account for just 23% of available student beds - a much lower proportion than many other cities across the UK.

Last month, another 700 rooms were given the go-ahead as part of two schemes.

That included the 317-bedroom Swanston Hall on the corner of Queen Street. The Athletic Stores building on the street is being turned into student rooms by Welsh company Watkin Jones and Holywood's Lacuna Developments.

The second project to be given the green light was a 380-bedroom development at Little Patrick Street, run by English firm UniCiti.

Belfast Telegraph

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