Business columnists

Student accommodation firm in bid to turn Belfast project into temporary aparthotel

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

THE company behind one of the largest new student accommodation projects next to Ulster University in Belfast is seeking to turn most of the building into a temporary aparthotel.

Student Roost will complete the 11 storey 430-bed block on Little Patrick Street next summer.

But the company says it wants to operate 62 per cent of the project as an aparthotel until the university completes its new city centre campus project on York Street.

Originally due to open in 2019, the £250m campus project has been hit by delays. It's now unlikely to be ready before 2022. Ulster University plan to relocate its extensive Jordanstown campus to city centre site once it is completed.

Student Roost's proposal centres on the first seven floors of its nearby building.

If approved, the temporary plan would effectively see the new complex turned into one of Belfast biggest hotels overnight.

The development on Little Patrick Street will mark Student Roost's fourth in Belfast.

It recently completed a £37m 475-bed complex next door on Great Patrick Street. It also operates student accommodation projects on College Square East (John Bell House) and Queen Street (Swanston House).

Student Roost says it wants to keep the building active until the university is ready to relocate.

It has already applied to use all rooms on floors 5-11 as serviced apartments for a short term period.

Its new proposal is set to be put on public display at an event in the Ramada by Wyndham hotel on November 7.

The company's chief investment officer, Stephen Rigby said: “We look forward to continuing our growth in Belfast, a key market for us, as well as welcoming new residents who will be enrolled in the state-of-the-art Ulster University campus.

“As the university prepares to open its doors, Student Roost seeks to add vitality to the Little Patrick Street area by welcoming visitors to enjoy short-stays at the temporary aparthotel which occupies a portion of our new building.

“We look forward to introducing this meanwhile-use concept ahead of returning to our core business of meeting the growing demand for high quality student accommodation.”

Philip Stinson from planning consultancy firm Turley added: “A temporary change of use for the proposed purpose-built student accommodation is a fitting solution to ensure these high-quality living quarters contribute to area's regeneration in advance of the new Ulster University opening.

“Belfast continues to set itself apart as an educational landmark and attracts strong demand from students for residency options in close proximity to campuses and city amenities.”

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