Global Student Accommodation (GSA) Group has received detailed planning permission for its first student accommodation development in Dublin’s South Inner City. The submitted plans for the site, in Mill Street, Newmarket, Dublin 8, will see the area transformed into a 400-bed student development also featuring shops, a restaurant and commercial space for occupation by local businesses.
The site will be developed in a partnership between GSA Group, which has recently opened its Dublin base on Leeson Street and The Creedon Group, the property investment and management group. GSA will fund and develop the student accommodation and once completed it will operate it under the brand name Uninest.
GSA estimates that some 150 new jobs will be created during the construction and refurbishment phase and will place the main construction contract with locally based main contractors. GSA is also planning for a further 15 full time positions once the student property opens in September 2017.
On completion, the scheme will be known as Uninest Mill Street and will deliver an extensive new public realm and landscaping to Mill Street and Warrenmount Lane. In addition, the refurbishment of a dilapidated historic townhouse at No.10 Mill Street will be refurbished to provide a centrepiece for Mill Street. The reinstatement of No.10 will be hugely beneficial to the area, due to its historical significance. It was built in 1720’s as the Earl of Meath’s townhouse and remains one of the oldest buildings in Dublin.
Archaeological work has already started on the site and a number of historic tanning pits have been discovered. GSA has committed to retain artefacts, offer them to local museums and display others in publicly accessible areas once the project has been completed.
The approved plans for Mill Street, which rises to 4-7 storeys and will contain a range of study bedrooms and student community spaces, was passed by An Bord Pleanala this week.
The Mill Street site forms part of GSA’s plan for continued growth of its global purpose- built and managed student accommodation portfolio, concentrating on major international student destinations. GSA will operate Mill Street under its Uninest student brand.
Aaron Bailey, Development and project manager for GSA Dublin said: “We’re delighted to have received planning permission for our inaugural development, which we intend to act as beacon of regeneration and development in the Newmarket area. We aim to make a real difference to our student residents’ lives providing a great student living experience which helps students study, live well and get the most from their time at university.”
“We see a clear demand for our type of accommodation in Dublin and we are encouraged by the initiatives of both central Government and Dublin City Council in promoting Dublin as an international student city. We will invest some €250m in the city in the next five years, so gaining planning approval for Uninest Mill Street represents a real milestone and more importantly an exciting new choice for students as well as local businesses and the surrounding community.”
Dublin is a booming centre for higher education. There are currently some 80,000 full time students studying in Dublin’s nine higher education institutions and a further 100,000 students coming to the city to study English language courses each year. Both central government and Dublin City policies strongly support the promotion of Dublin as an international student city and the provision of good quality purpose built student accommodation is seen as a key element in meeting this objective.
Purpose built student accommodation is regarded as an asset class in its own right, particularly in the USA and UK where they are relatively mature markets. The development of student accommodation in Ireland, apart from direct development by colleges, has traditionally been driven by tax incentives and in most cases involved the breakup of the development into individual unit sales to private owners. Uninest Mill Street is different and 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 the city. This development also will provide a further step in the rejuvenation of Newmarket as well as the greater Liberties area.