The consortium consists of Cityheart Ltd, who are leading the project, Vinci Construction UK Ltd, and CRM Ltd. Investment of over £30million will bring new life to a site that has largely been disused for many years.
The design for the new development has been led by FaulknerBrowns Architects who are specialists in the higher education sector.
The University’s aim is to respond to demand from second and third year students who want to live in halls, while also allowing it to close the older halls on the Normal site. This new development of 600 rooms will allow the University to close 200 rooms built in the 1960’s on the Normal site.
Currently, many second and third year students apply to be accommodated in University managed halls, but due to insufficient capacity they must turn to the private rented sector throughout the city.
University Pro-Vice Chancellor, Professor Carol Tully said: “The new rooms will include all the facilities that today’s students would expect to see on a modern residential campus. It will offer students the best in comfort and design with a café bar, shop, laundrette and sports and fitness facilities all on site. At the heart of the design is a commitment to provide a real sense of community with an enhanced social and living space environment.”
Professor Tully added: “By developing the St Mary’s site, the University will make sustainable use of existing property and construct BREEAM excellent buildings, meeting today’s increasing environmental expectations. The development will also incorporate an electric bike scheme to encourage sustainable forms of transport.”
In addition to retaining the original Quadrangle and 1906 buildings, the development will create a mix of shared facilities around a new ‘village square’ at the heart of the community. Subject to planning permissions, the work is expected to be completed by September 2015 with demolition works starting in spring 2014.
During the development the Consortium has pledged to support the local community and economy by committing to new apprenticeships, work placements, and community schemes.
Andrew Kane, partner and higher education specialist at FaulknerBrowns Architects, said: “New design strategies have been developed to help strengthen the social cohesion of the various accommodation clusters and improve the overall sense of community. A series of innovations such as circulation cores with shared activity spaces, direct access into the cluster social spaces and an innovative distribution of social areas between clusters, will all help to break down the traditional barriers to a strong community.”