Perfect location for apartments

Tommy Barker profiles a well-designed student block in the city centre.

The S50 student accommodation development on Rutland Street is an aesthetically pleasing conversion of an old stone mill building with complementary yet contemporary new annexe.

And, right behind Reeves Hall, work on the architecturally striking new €12 million St John's College, a Further Education VEC college, is in the final throes of construction. Eye-catching features of the college building include the green copper-clad roof sections and break-out windows in the four-storey building due for completion next month (perversely, students here won't qualify for S50 accommodation).

Architects for Reeves Hall's apartments were Waterford-based Patrick Halley and Associates, who linked the old and the new in this block with a glazed, mono-pitch roof entrance and circulation tower opening to an enclosed sheltered courtyard behind.

Old stone is left exposed and is matched by new limestone window sills in the original portion. The top section is faced with timber cladding, while bright coloured render and glazing lifts the new sections visually.

There are just 22 apartment in all here, and two-bed apartment prices currently range from €290,000 to €300,000, and unit sizes are from 580 to 630 sq ft, with lift access and wheelchair accessibility.

Clearly pitched at investors, given the tax breaks attached through the S50 mechanism which allows buyers to off-set rental income against tax, the complex is over 75% pre-let for the coming academic year, says Jackie Cohalan of Cohalan Downing auctioneers.

The student rental market is about to undergo a major shake-up this year and into next year as purpose built accommodation hits the market in high volume, especially in Cork's western suburbs.

Reeves Hall's central location sets it apart from the throng - and most demand here is from students at the Crawford College of Art and students with part-time jobs in the city, says Ms Cohalan.

"The finish is well above the required Bord Failte three-star equivalent - even the pickiest West Cork mother won't find fault with it for her loved one," quips the selling agent who has a show unit open this afternoon from 2.00pm to 4.00pm.

The scheme is being backed by Rutland Developments, who also own and lease out the adjoining stone building which is now due for an external clean up to match its shiny new neighbour.

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