8/5/2012 Downing announces £90 million of student developments in London and Cambridge
Property group Downing has announced plans to develop a further 770 student beds across two new, multi-million pound schemes in London and Cambridge.
The Liverpool-based developer has completed the acquisition of a 0.56-acre site in Acton, West London from Goldcrest Ltd and exchanged contacts to acquire three plots within Brookgate’s CB1 masterplan 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 bring forward an 80,000 sq ft scheme on Victoria road, featuring 184 studio apartments with an end value of approximately £25 million. The accommodation will be delivered across two adjacent 7-storey buildings with retail at ground floor.
Designed to achieve a BREEAM rating of ‘excellent’, the scheme is located close to North Acton tube station and includes the creation of two new community parks – a pocket park and a biodiversity park.
At CB1 Downing will develop an £65 million scheme, delivering 586 student beds across three new buildings on the south east section of the 25-acre site. The 182,279 sq ft development will feature a mixture of clusters and studios. The wider CB1 development includes 800,000 sq ft of commercial space, 800,000 sq ft of residential apartments, retail, restaurants and bars.
Paul Houghton, development director at Downing, 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. We’re excited to join the high profile CB1 development and to expand our presence in the capital.”
Downing’s in-house contracting division George Downing Construction (GDC) will begin work on the Acton scheme in May 2012 for completion in September 2013. Downing expects to complete the deal with Brookgate in November 2012, with work on the scheme starting in 2013.
Over the past two decades Downing has established a track record of highly successful student schemes, developing and managing more than 6,000 student beds. Current projects include the £40 million 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 which will feature 572 en-suite student bedrooms, a gym and 25-metre swimming pool designed by Stirling Prize-winning architects Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios.