€200 million for student beds

Over 600 student beds in Cork and 700-plus in Dublin, are being provided in a progressive €200 million-plus joint venture partnership by global players Harrison Street Real Estate Capital, and Global Student Accommodation Group, GSA - who’ll trade in Dublin and Cork under the brand Uninest.

€200 million for student beds

The duo this week confirmed it was adding a total of 1,325 student accommodation beds to its expanding Irish portfolio, and already has 1,000 operational beds in Dublin, with a further 900 due in the capital by September 2018.

The €200m-plus further investment includes a Western Road, Cork city, site previously associated with specialist provider Ziggurat, with 190 beds due for completion by September 2018, and at the Brewery Quarter (Events Centre/former Beamish & Crawford) site where 413 beds are to be provided.

In Dublin, the sites are off the North Circular Road by the new Grangegorman campus, and at Broadstone, where GSA already has a presence.

The Cork sites will add 600 purpose- built beds to an existing tally of c 3,800 serving UCC students, with UCC student demand put at 10,000 beds across all rental sectors, according to UCC Director of Estates Mark Poland.

The proposed student accommodation at ‘Brewery Quarter’ on the former Beamish site in Cork.
The proposed student accommodation at ‘Brewery Quarter’ on the former Beamish site in Cork.

Mr Poland estimates that a further 2,200 student beds are in various stages of planning/pipeline for UCC and CIT students.

Locations include the Crow’s Nest site at Victoria Cross, where UCC is applying via a fast-track planning process for 255 beds, as well as at the Coca-Cola site on the Carrigrohane Road for 484 beds, along with more proposed at sites like Square Deal, O’Riordans Joinery, Gillen House on Farranlea Road, Model Farm Road/Melbourne Road, and in the city centre at Copley Street and possibly at Bachelors Quay, in adjustments to previously developed Corbett family projects.

Now establishing themselves as among Ireland’s more significant players, and with a global reach, are GSA and Harrison Street, who came together in 2015 to target student accommodation in Ireland: further investment can be anticipated.

Its first Cork foray, worth €80-€100m, is via two Uninest student residences, by the college gates at Western Road (the old Muskerry Service Station site) and the Brewery Quarter.

According to a spokesperson, the developments “will play a key role in major regeneration works taking place in Cork city centre and will open by 2020.

The proposed student accommodation at ‘Brewery Quarter’ on the former Beamish site in Cork.
The proposed student accommodation at ‘Brewery Quarter’ on the former Beamish site in Cork.

Both residences will bring unrivalled accommodation including laundry, gym, cinema and games room as well as welcoming on-site management services to meet modern students’ demand in the city”.

Headquartered in Dubai, GSA is present in numerous countries, owning brands such as Uninest, The Student Housing Company, and Nexo Residencias, controlling c 30,000 student beds.

Meanwhile, Harrison Street is one of the largest owners of student housing in the US and Europe, with over 125,000 student beds. Its European portfolio currently comprises more than 9,000 beds in operation or under construction.

In Ireland, the partnership has been supported by Bank of Ireland, and AIB’s corporate divisions.

Nick Richards, GSA’s MD for UK and Ireland said: “While Ireland maintains its reputation for having some of the best academic institutions globally, there will continue to be strong demand for high- quality purpose-built student accommodation from both home and international students.”

Dublin-based GSA Europe head of construction Aaron Bailey added: “GSA’s rapid expansion in Dublin is expected to aid unprecedented demand for student accommodation in the capital, and release pressure on local housing stock.”

Details: www.gsa-gp.com; www.harrisonst.com  

More in this section

Lunchtime News Wrap

A lunchtime summary of content highlights on the Irish Examiner website. Delivered at 1pm each day.

Sign up

Our Covid-free newsletter brings together some of the best bits from irishexaminer.com, as chosen by our editor, direct to your inbox every Monday.

Sign up