Queen’s University is set to invest up to £100 million to address a demand for student accommodation in Belfast.
The money is set to be invested over the next four years, and is to create up to 225 jobs while transforming the city centre.
Belfast is currently home to an estimated 45,000 full-time students in third level education.
It is expected that another 3,000 rooms will be required within the next four years for Queen’s University students alone.
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Queen’s said there has been a 5% increase in applications for student accommodation this year, compared with last.
The plans come after a recent UK-wide report by StuRents, the UK’s leading student accommodation search, property management and data platform, revealed that the UK is set to face a shortfall of around 450,000 student beds by 2025.
As part of Queen’s plans, three new sites have been acquired by the university at Dublin Road, Laganbank and Brunswick Street.
Caroline Young, vice president of students and corporate services at Queen’s, said there is a focus on the need for high quality, affordable and safe options close to the university.
“We have been aware of and planning for a major increase in demand for student accommodation in recent years, and through this significant investment we are ensuring we are prepared to respond effectively,” she said.
“Securing these three sites close to Queen’s and the city centre is not only putting us on the front foot in terms of keeping our best students at home and attracting others from elsewhere, but it will also have a hugely positive effect on the city as a whole in terms of attracting developers, businesses and better services and crucially will help deliver Belfast City Council Agenda for 66,000 more residents living in our city centre by 2030.”
Dublin Road is the first of the three sites where construction will begin, by contractors Graham, where up to 460 student rooms could be built.
A public consultation on this site is currently taking place.
Gary Holmes, regional managing director, Building North, Graham, said: “We are excited to be leading on the construction of this new development, which will help to transform the area while boosting the economy.
“As part of our commitment to social impact, we are implementing an employment and skills programme to support local unemployed residents into the industry.
“We will also be working closely with community organisations to provide volunteering opportunities for our staff as well as working with local schools to offer site visits and curriculum support.”