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PBSA update – funding for Leeds project, Hammersmith scheme begins

In this mini update, PIT takes a look at the latest in purpose-built student accommodation (PBSA) news, with Dominvs’ plans for a 713-bed scheme in Hammersmith now underway, and Urbanite securing £14.8 million funding for a new student scheme in Leeds.

Approval granted for 713-bed PBSA scheme in Hammersmith

Real estate developer Dominvs Group has received planning permission for a 713-bed PBSA scheme in Hammersmith, supported by Imperial College London.


Designed by international architects Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners (RSH+P), the scheme will deliver student housing in close proximity to Imperial College London’s White City Campus.

The scheme represents the northern portion of a larger development which currently has a 400-key hotel under construction, designed by RSH+P and currently being delivered by Dominvs to the south of the site. Both buildings will target BREEAM Excellent.

Dominvs Group’s plans for the 181 Talgarth Road site – a former magistrates court – were approved last week by Hammersmith & Fulham Council’s Planning and Transportation Committee.

In addition to the 713 beds, the scheme will feature flexible amenity space, including study and seminar space and an onsite gym. RSH+P, together with award-winning landscape architects Gillespies, have also designed a landscaped garden courtyard at ground level and a mezzanine level with space for pop-ups and events.

Dominvs is working closely with Imperial College London, with discussions advanced for Imperial to take the majority of the rooms once completed. The developer says will aid the university in playing a key Anchor Institution role in the Borough as both an education and employment provider.

As well as Imperial’s White City campus, the site is in close proximity to several local Higher Education Institutions, including LAMDA, RCA White City and West London College.

Dominvs Group also made a concerted effort to work with the local community to ensure continual local input over planning and design. This communication has led to support for the revised scheme from the local community.

Some 359 of the 713 rooms will be affordable, offering a solution to the growing affordability and accessibility gaps in student accommodation around London.

Jay Ahluwalia, principal at Dominvs Group, says the mixed-use nature of Dominvs’ proposal confirms its ability to ‘continually create value across different asset classes’ in response to the needs of the local area and market conditions.

He explains: “This extends our track record of success across student accommodation, hospitality and residential-led developments throughout the capital and beyond. We were delighted to work closely with the Community Liaison Group throughout the planning process. Earning the support of the  community was a priority for us in this new scheme and we are proud to have seen local groups speaking in favour of our application yesterday.”

“Finally, we are pleased to have the support of  Imperial College on this scheme and strongly believe the affordable bedrooms – 359 in this case - will be of significant benefit to students in years to come.”

John Anderson, director of financial strategy at Imperial College London, adds: “Imperial College London has a strategic partnership with the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham to support inclusive economic growth, sustainable businesses and rapid innovation. We have a shared vision to create a world-class ecosystem centred on close collaboration between academics, students, entrepreneurs, businesses, and residents: the White City Innovation District.”

“A key factor in sustaining any successful innovation ecosystem is the sufficient availability of affordable and fit for purpose accommodation for critical communities of rare talent. Opportunities like this will increase the capacity to ensure that talent can emerge from any background and not just the most privileged.”

He goes on to say: “181 Talgarth Road is a short walk from our clinical teaching site at Charing Cross Hospital and a short cycle ride from Hammersmith Hospital. It is well-connected to our growing White City Campus, home to our Molecular Sciences Hub, School of Public Health and Sir Michael Uren Biomedical Engineering Hub.”

“Half the student rooms at 181 Talgarth Road will be affordable student rooms delivered to a high specification. We have been working with Dominvs for these to be allocated to Imperial students. We look forward to continuing to work together with Dominvs."

Urbanite secures £14.8m funding for Leeds student scheme

Student property developer Urbanite has secured a £14.8 million finance facility with Paragon Development Finance to support its latest PBSA scheme in Leeds.

The company has acquired the Sugarwell Court student accommodation block from Leeds Beckett University and will convert the site into cutting-edge student accommodation.

The 20-month £14.8 million facility will enable Urbanite to acquire the site and undertake the development of a 457-bed PBSA scheme.

The grant is designed to include Paragon’s new stabilisation facility, which covers the period following the completion of a development until the scheme has seasoned with student occupancy for up to two academic years.

Once the development is complete, the scheme will be refinanced onto an 18-month stabilisation facility.

This means that Paragon can support a developer through the full lifecycle of a PBSA development, from acquisition of a site without planning and pending approval, to the development phase and onto a stabilisation facility post practical completion and opening of the scheme.

PBSA update – funding for Leeds project, Hammersmith scheme begins

The funding was led on behalf of the bank by Relationship Director Simon Dekker, with support from Senior Portfolio Manager Craig Seaborne.

The latest funding marks Paragon’s second deal with Urbanite. Previously, Paragon funded a 127-bed PBSA scheme in Sheffield for £6.3 million, which is due for practical completion to meet the start of the academic year in 2022.

Timothy Smith, director at Urbanite, comments: “Urbanite is thrilled to secure a secondary deal with Paragon, bringing forward this exciting scheme for upgraded state-of-the-art purpose build student accommodation in Leeds. We’re pleased to have acquired this site and to be able to convert it into bespoke student accommodation in a prime location in the centre of Leeds.”

“We’ve built a great relationship with Simon and the team at Paragon; their support and understanding are gratefully received with the past two successful funding facilities.”

Simon Dekker, relationship director at Paragon, adds: “We were able to complete this finance facility is a short period of time to enable the customer to complete the acquisition of the site and commence development work. This is the second deal we have funded with Urbanite, which is building a great reputation in the PBSA market.”


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