Student Hotel expands into Florence

The Dutch group Student Hotel picks Florence to start 600 million euro European expansion

Adding to its seven-strong portfolio of properties, The Student Hotel has purchased one of Florence’s most iconic buildings. The nearly 20,000 square meter property was part of the gigantic urban reorganisation designed by Giuseppe Poggi in 1864, prior to Florence becoming Italy’s capital city.

Known in Florence as the Palazzo del Sonno (‘the sleepy building’), it overlooks Viale Strozzi in front of Fortezza da Basso.

Set to open in 2017, The Student Hotel Firenze will maintain its 19th century facade but will be fully refurbished inside, mirroring the successful template established in The Netherlands.

Contemporary architecture will frame the hotel and students’ rooms and studios, with a library, study areas, meeting and conference rooms, an incubator for start-ups, a games room, gym and bicycle fleet; every resident student is entitled to ride a VanMoof design bike for free.

The destination will also boast a rooftop swimming pool and a 180-seat auditorium

Charlie MacGregor, the company’s CEO and founder commented: ‘The Student Hotel Florence will connect students and start-ups, freelancers and the business community. It will be a hub for an international network where people can meet, stay and work – this is the model for our European investment and roll-out.’

The total investment in the Florence project is in excess of €40m and will create around 300 jobs during construction, when the hotel opens for business.

The Student Hotel, which currently operates 2,750 rooms in Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague, Barcelona and Paris, aims to reach 10,000 rooms by 2020 through a programme of similar acquisitions in Italy, Germany, France, Spain, the UK and Scandinavia. With The Student Hotel Florence, 390 rooms will be added.

The Student Hotel, central Amsterdam

MacGregor adds: “We will invest more than €600m in the next three to five years. The growth and success of The Student Hotel is the result of strong public-private partnerships with local and international stakeholders. Together with city government and property companies, we identify vacant buildings or building plots in regeneration areas, then fast-track them for development. We will look for investment opportunities in every University city which has international students, such as Rome, Milan, Turin, Venice, Bologna and Padua.”

The 19th Century building purchase has been made in collaboration with Invest in Tuscany, the Regione Toscana project for attracting foreign investment.

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