LIVERPOOL property group Downing has announced £90m plans to develop two student accommodation schemes in London and Cambridge, providing a total of 770 bed spaces.
The developer, which owns Liverpool landmarks such as Old Hall Street’s Capital Building and the waterfront Port of Liverpool Building, has completed the acquisition of a site in Acton, West London, from Goldcrest, and exchanged contracts to acquire three plots in Cambridge. Both sites have existing planning consent.
The move is in line with the group’s strategy to acquire sites in major UK student centres with a focus on top- tier university cities.
In Acton, it will provide an 80,000 sq ft scheme featuring 184 studio apartments in two seven-storey towers, including ground floor retail sites, with an end value of about £25m.
Situated close to North Acton tube station, the project will also create two new community parks – a pocket park and a biodiversity park.
In Cambridge, Downing will develop a £65m scheme, providing 586 student beds across three new buildings on the south-east section of a 25-acre site. The 182,279 sq ft development will feature a mixture of clusters and studios.
The wider development includes 800,000 sq ft of commercial space, 800,000 sq ft of residential apartments, retail, restaurants and bars.
Paul Houghton, Downing development director, said: “These acquisitions mark a significant milestone in our strategy to bring the Downing brand of superior, sustainable and energy-efficient buildings to the UK’s major student centres.
“The new funding environment and growing demand for higher quality living spaces with more amenities and better locations means student accommodation is playing an increasingly important role in how universities attract fee-paying students.”
Downing’s in-house contracting division, George Downing Construction, will begin work on the Acton scheme this month, for completion in September, 2013.
Downing expects to complete the deal in Cambridge by November, with work on the scheme starting next year.
Over the past two decades, Downing has established a track record in student schemes, developing and managing more than 6,000 bed spaces.
Current projects include the £40m Central Village in Leeds, the 332-bed Central St James development, in Newcastle, and plans for a 32-storey, mixed-use scheme in Vauxhall, south London, with 572 en-suite bedrooms, a gym and a 25-metre swimming pool.