Three new projects step forward to further fill the student accommodation void

The inner city's sustained surge in student housing projects is poised to churn out three additional developments, all of which are currently navigating through planning.

As demand for inner city apartments has waned, student accommodation proponents have seized the opportunity to add further key sites across inner northern suburbs to their respective portfolios. As the frenzied sale (and sale prices) of prospective development sites has cooled, a handful of key institutional players have muscled in on land acquisitions.

This coupled with the expansion/conversion of existing buildings, has seen the student accommodation sector mushroom rapidly; Urban Melbourne's Project Database now includes 16 dedicated student accommodation developments, with more to follow.

Whitley College's proposed revamp. Planning image: Rothelowman

Most recent to the database is GSA Australia, continuing their expansion agenda with 263-281 Royal Parade.

The Parkville address which currently plays host to Whitley College is in line for a substantial expansion. Designed by Rothelowman, the scheme requests additional levels be added to the existing doughnut-shaped sandstone building, with a new six level wing added to the rear of the site.

The project's estimated cost of development is $32 million and results in 366 student rooms.

This is GSA Australia's fourth Melbourne project in quick succession, with the wraps coming off their most recent only last week.

A revamped scheme for Wreckyn Street. Planning image: Nettleton Tribe

Also on the agenda is a reworking of an approved North Melbourne site previously held by Malaysian developer Mammoth Empire.

The approved apartment scheme has been superseded by a Nettleton Tribe design for operator UniLodge. At 9 levels the new 15-27 Wreckyn Street incorporates 420 beds split between individual and multishare options. 85 bicycle spaces and a cafe tenancy are also present, as are numerous common areas.

Having sold the site for $17 million late last year, the transaction pocketed Mammoth Empire $5 million for the two years that it was in control of 2,271sqm site.

From UniLodge's perspective, 15-27 Wreckyn Street joins 123-135 Bouverie Street as the operators pending inner city projects.

Bedford Place's now defunct apartment project. Image: Vinci Carbone

Finally, Brisbane-based Blue Sky Funds is behind 3-5 Bedford Place, situated adjacent to Haymarket Roundabout. Controlling the adjoining property at 1 Flemington Road which has approval for a Hayball-designed student tower, Blue Sky have sought the conversion of the Bedford Place permit from 53 apartments to student accommodation predominantly consisting of 3 or 5 bedroom clusters.

In line with its new purpose, the Bedford Place property which is now under the guidance of design practice Hayball, has lost its basement level and has been significant reworked internally. Externally the reworked design remains within the bounds of the approved envelope.

It's proposed that both buildings are to be constructed simultaneously, and will most likely fall under the recently created Atira Student Living banner.

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