November start for student village

Student accommodation of 400 beds gets green light from An Bord Pleanála


Construction of a 400-bed student accommodation centre in the Liberties area of Dublin is expected to get underway in November after the scheme got the green light from An Bord Pleanála last week.

“We expect to appoint a contractor to build our Uninest Mill Street student village in October,” says Aaron Bailey, development and project manager for Global Student Accommodation Dublin, which is developing the project. “That should allow the builders to get on-site in November and give us a completion date for the project of September 2017.”

In fact, archaeological work has already started on site and a number of historic tanning pits have been discovered. Mr Bailey says GSA is committed to retain artefacts, offer them to local museums and display others in publicly accessible areas once the project has been completed.

The development, which will be located on a 2.5-acre site on Mill Street in the Newmarket area of Dublin 8, will eventually contain some 12,077sq m (130,000sq ft) of student accommodation in “clusters” of three to eight-bedroom units rising to heights of between four and seven storeys.

There will also be three shops with around 186sq m (2,000sq ft) each and a restaurant in a block containing a further 557sq m (6,000sq ft) of commercial floor space.

The site is being developed in a partnership between GSA Group and property investment manager The Creedon Group. GSA will fund and develop the student accommodation.

Purpose-built student accommodation is a mature property asset class in the US and UK markets but is underdeveloped in Ireland where, apart from direct development by colleges, it has traditionally been driven by tax incentives. This usually involved the break-up of developments into individual unit sales to private owners.

Uninest Mill Street involves the long-term retention of the entire asset by GSA Group and will be one of the first large scale developments of its type in Dublin.

Nearby to the planned student village, Dublin City Council is planning a new public park at Chamber Street on the site of a former social flats complex. This forms part of the council’s “greening strategy” and will be the first new park in Dublin for many years.

The 1.2-acre site lies between Cork and Chamber Street and has been in council hands since the demolition of the council flats in November 2008.

The council also has outline plans for a scheme of environmental improvements for nearby Newmarket Square and approach roads. This project has recently been through a public consultation process.