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Student flats bring £180m in sales at McAleer & Rushe contract arm


The proposed 740-room student quarters at 78 College Avenue

The proposed 740-room student quarters at 78 College Avenue

The planned new Maldron Hotel on Brunswick Street

The planned new Maldron Hotel on Brunswick Street

The proposed 740-room student quarters at 78 College Avenue

Co Tyrone building giant McAleer and Rushe has said it expects further growth in its student housing and hotel work after turnover in its contracts division jumped 73% to £180m.

Accounts for McAleer and Rushe Construction Contracts UK Ltd, which is based in Newcastle, England, also show a 66% jump in pre-tax profits t0 £5m for the year ending December 2015.

According to its website, the company is forecasting turnover of £240m in its design and build work in 2016.

Its 20 projects in design and building - which builds residential housing and office developments, as well as student homes and hotels - included a 1,000 bed student housing scheme worth £51.5m in Portsmouth.

And it said it's even turning down work so that it can make sure projects are finished on time, and hopes to be avoid relying on bank loans in future.

In March the firm landed a £26m deal to build a major new hotel at Stansted Airport.

Next year's accounts will also reflect new student housing deals in Northern Ireland. The firm is also behind two new student housing developments planned for Belfast city centre, bringing 1,200 new rooms to the city.

And it has also bought the historic headquarters of the Belfast Telegraph on Royal Avenue.

In a strategic report accompanying the results, which were filed at Companies House recently, the directors said: "The group continued to benefit from business development in earlier periods as several larger schemes, secured and started in previous years, moved to fit-out stage resulting in significant turnover growth in line with expectations."

The directors added: "The group is close to securing a number of further larger scale contracts whilst operating at or close to current project levels.

"A number of these schemes are with existing clients. This will result in further turnover and profit growth in both 2016 and 2017 respectively."

And it said the group was in a position to deliver this growth with limited change to staff numbers. It currently employs 209 people.

The strategic report added: "Despite the availability of work during the year, the group has not take up all the opportunities presented to ensure focus remains on the timely and cost-focused delivery of a manageable workload."

Meanwhile, a 740-room student accommodation by McAleer & Rushe at 78 College Avenue is expected to get the go ahead during tonight's Belfast City Council planning meeting.

A decision had been deferred for a month for a site visit.

The company is also building a new hotel - set to be a Maldron Hotel - at Brunswick Street on the site of the former Belfast Metropolitan College. Maldron owners the Dalata Group said the hotel represented a £21m investment.

It's also building student housing at McClintock Street, a site which is to be sold to Queen's University along with College Avenue, when both are finished.

Belfast Telegraph