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GSA Group go again; adds to the crush of student accommodation projects

The rampant growth in Melbourne's student housing sector will likely gain extra impetus, with international operator GSA Group lining up a second inner city development.

With their initial Melbourne foray reaching an important construction marker over the last week, GSA Australia will now look to develop a pre-approved site at 684-688 Elizabeth Street. City of Melbourne had previously granted approval for a 19 storey, SJB Architects-designed tower with 120 apartments in tow over the site which also fronts Berkeley Street.

At that stage LBP Group Holdings Pty Ltd was the nominated owner/developer, although along the way GSA Australia have snared the site and now plan a student accommodation tower with a nominal development cost of $40 million.

DKO Architecture's new design as seen from Berkeley Street

Having only re-entered the Australian market during 2016 via subsidiary GSA Australia, GSA Group at the timed flagged their intentions of securing 25,000 beds under management by 2025.

205-223 Pelham Street as the group's first Melbourne endeavour gained a tower crane last week, with the eventual result a DKO Architecture-designed building set behind a retained heritage facade.

684-688 Elizabeth Street is much the same in that DKO Architecture are once more at the design helm, with the tower for the most adhering to the approved design envelope of the previous scheme. This includes the redesigned tower maintaining a setback to the existing and historically sensitive Elizabeth Street frontage.

Expected behind is a tower that would absorb 327 beds set within 246 student rooms. A retail outlet and communal spaces span the tower ground floor footprint, with further communal spaces across levels 1 and 11 and within the basement.

GSA Australia's Pelham Street project gathers construction momentum

684-688 Elizabeth Street effectively heads a conga line of upcoming student accommodation projects covering the northern reaches of Melbourne CBD through to the Haymarket Roundabout.

Waiting in the wings are projects such as 15-27 Wreckyn Street, 1 Flemington Road, 5-17 Flemington Road, 197-235 Bouverie Street, 557-591 Swanston Street and 599-605 Swanston Street. These projects along with GSA Australia's will add in excess of 3,000 student beds to the inner Melbourne student accommodation market.

Furthermore, construction is underway on some of the city's larger student-oriented projects. IGLU, Scape Melbourne and 42-50 La Trobe Street will combine to add thousands of additional new beds for students.

Waiting in the wings is the new 97 Franklin Street with Scape recently adding the site to its development portfolio, while South Africa-based Redefine has approval for the repurposing of 16-32 Leicester Street from a multi-level car park into their first Australian student project.

1 comment

George D's picture

RMIT and Melbourne together have 100,000 enrollments, alongside the plethora of smaller institutions with campuses in the inner city. These people all need somewhere to live, and many of them will seek to live in proximity to their study (particularly young students from overseas or interstate).

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