The firm behind one of Belfast's biggest student accommodation schemes looks set to develop yet another student housing project, after acquiring a major building close by, it can be revealed.
Developers behind 123 York Street, close to the new Ulster University development in the city centre, are set to begin work as early as the beginning of next year on their 407-bedroom site.
But it's understood those behind the scheme have also now taken on nearby buildings, 48-52 York Street, in order to develop them into more student rooms.
And there are already early plans to demolish the building and construct a nine-storey development, with 200 bedrooms.
That initial scheme also has outline planning permission.
York Street (No 1) Ltd is the firm set up to run the initial 123 York Street development, with funding coming from UK firm Custodian Capital.
Lagan Construction has also been named as the preferred construction partner for the original 407-bedroom development.
In a letter from Lagan included in a "design and delivery statement", it said it had been in discussions with the developers with "a view to negotiating a price for the construction" of the proposed development.
It said following constructive discussions, Lagan is "now the preferred construction partner" for the site and a "budget price for the consultation of the building has been worked up".
According to Lagan, work is due to take around 18 months. It said it is vital that work begins on the development by 2016, with aims of being finished by October 2017. That's cutting it fine for the initial intake of students.
No-one from the company set up to run the student accommodation scheme was available for comment.
The latest development is one of several major projects in the works, ahead of Ulster University's move to Belfast city centre.
In May, Co Tyrone property developer McAleer and Rushe announced two student housing developments, bringing more than 1,200 new rooms to the city. They will support 300 jobs during construction.
Planning applications have been submitted for a 840-room scheme on College Avenue.
And in March the green light was given for 400 rooms of student accommodation at a former Belfast Metropolitan College building in the city centre.
This summer, UK property firm UniCiti LLP also applied for permission to construct an 11-storey building, made up of 380 studio rooms, located in Little Patrick Street. The project includes shared communal areas and an outside courtyard, along with a management suite.
And earlier this year, UniCiti outlined plans for a 12-14-storey student development on York Street, made up of almost 600 bedrooms and 92 studio rooms.
The firm behind the latest York Street schemes says it has a "pipeline" of student rooms throughout the UK and Republic which are in excess of 2,300 bedrooms.
In a "design and delivery" statement, it says it has other schemes, including one in Dublin, along with "407 beds at 123 York Street and the recently acquired 200 beds at 48-52 York Street currently with outline planning approval".