£25m Student Halls to be Built on Bristol Ice Rink Site
Unite Group has confirmed its £25m plan to build 500 rooms at the site of the old ice rink in Trenchard Street, Bristol, which sits on the O2 concert venue. Work will start on site later this year with completion ready for the academic year in 2014. The firm, which is based in Bristol, specialises in converting buildings into student accommodation and owns several properties in the city centre. Unite also wants to open up the side of the building and landscape the area. The company said the O2 Academy will stay open throughout the work.
Unite says that its scheme will improve the neglected Trenchard Street area and open it up to other businesses. Unite has 3,000 rooms in Bristol and believes there is demand for more thanks to the popularity of the city with prospective students and the quality of its two universities. The company is ploughing £25 million into the project which could be the biggest development of its kind in the city over the next two years.
The proposed development will provide much needed purpose-built, managed student accommodation in a highly accessible location within Bristol city centre. It will help regenerate this prime quarter of Bristol by bringing 440 students with their associated spending power to the city centre and free up over 100 private homes that might otherwise be occupied by students. The project represents an investment of £25 million in Bristol and will create employment both during construction and afterwards to operate the property.
Student accommodation specialist Unite Group is to take the focus of its building programme outside of London. Unite Group said it was looking beyond the capital for new development projects as land costs and rival schemes were impacting on returns.
Mark Allan, Chief Executive of The Unite Group, said: “The demand outlook for student accommodation is robust and there are clear signs of enhanced investor appetite in the sector which should underpin investment yields. The outlook for development activity remains compelling and, although the London development market place is increasingly competitive, we are starting to see a small number of specific regional locations offering appealing opportunities on a highly selective basis.”