Top half of Belfast student accommodation block to become 266-bed aparthotel, but only for three years

The Student Roost development on Little Patrick Street, Belfast.
Ryan McAleer

A MASSIVE student accommodation block looks set to become one of Belfast’s biggest hotels at a stroke of a pen, but only for three years.

The 11-storey Student Roost Little Patrick Street development contains 430 rooms next to Ulster University’s long-delayed York Street campus.

It was originally built as a joint venture between Holywood firm Lacuna Developments and Welsh and developer Watkin Jones. Student Roost is the operator.

The Ulster University campus, which had been due to open in 2018 at a cost of £250m, won’t open until at least 2022, with the cost soaring to around £370m.

In response, Student Roost, which operates four student accommodation developments in Belfast, lodged a planning application to temporarily use 266 rooms in its new Little Patrick Street block as an aparthotel.

The application was made by PBSA Little Patrick Street SARL, a limited company owned by Brookfield Asset Management, a Toronto-based venture captial investor. Brookfield is the ultimate owner of Student Roost.

The bid relates to the top half of the block (floors 5-11), with the bottom remaining as student accommodation.

Planning officials in Belfast seem largely content with the proposal, recommending the application be approved, subject to the company contributing to some works around the project, including 100 parking spaces for bicycles.

The rooms will revert to student accommodation on September 1 2023.

The report produced by city council officials revealed that the company is seeking “to ensure ongoing utilisation of the building and ensure viability between current operations and the interim period up to the completion of the adjacent Ulster University campus”.

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