Student housing change of use trend continues

George Sell George Sell Uploaded 24 August 2020

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UK: A third block of student accommodation in Cardiff has applied for a change of use to serviced apartments.

The owners of the Eclipse tower in Adamsdown, want to use up to 235 of their rooms as professional serviced apartments.

The development, with a total of 686 rooms, first opened to students in 2017 after receiving planning permission in 2015.

Operator Collegiate says it is struggling to fill the rooms, with the pandemic putting off students from studying at university.

Guests staying in the serviced apartments would benefit from a 24-hour concierge, a gym, laundry room, cycle storage and dining rooms. Rooms would be charged on a weekly rate and maximum stays would be limited to 90 days.

Collegiate must first receive planning permission for the change of use from Cardiff council.

Two other student accommodation developments in Cardiff have also recently applied for a change of use - the Zenith and the Neighbourhood.

Planning agent Catherine Hoyte said: “Understandably, given the recent worldwide pandemic, take up in university places and therefore living accommodation has been impacted. UCAS applications are showing a one per cent decrease in Wales. Coupled with uncertainty regarding international students being able to travel to the UK, means that student intake this academic year in Cardiff will be challenging. While the facility could operate at a lower occupancy, clearly there are significant cost implications associated with this which could put long-term viability at risk. It is also far preferable to see the building in full use rather than sitting empty for the upcoming academic year.”

Collegiate is aiming to attract corporate clients such as contractors and consultants; recent graduates; staff visiting universities; and young professionals.

The application is for one year, beginning on September 1.

Hoyte added: “The take up of student places in September 2021 is likely to be more promising. The hope is that international students will be able to travel more freely. There is also likely to be pent up demand from those who could not enter higher education this year. Next year will also show an increase in the number of 18-year-olds in the population for the first time in 10 years. Furthermore, with a recession underway, many 18-year-olds will turn to higher education given the lack of opportunity in the employment market.”

 

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