STUDENT property company Ziggurat has been granted planning consent for the conversion of eight Newcastle properties into 89 self contained residential studios for students. Work on this £7.5m scheme, on Claremont Place, is due to start in early 2014 and be completed by 2015.

Ziggurat was founded in 2009 by Jim Pike and Matt McAdden to bring together their development expertise and operational skills in the student accommodation sector while creating quality investment opportunities for a range of investors.

Claremont Place.

Claremont Place.

The Claremont Place opportunity was put on the market by Newcastle University in 2012 and Ziggurat exchanged contracts to acquire the buildings in April of this year. Extensive design work has been carried out to ensure that the period character of the 19th Century townhouses is retained, with many ornate internal features incorporated into the scheme plan. The 89 self contained studios are generously sized, containing their own ensuite bathroom and self contained kitchen, and many also have period features such as spectacular fireplaces, ornate ceilings and original coving.

The location is well suited to students, being adjacent to the Newcastle University campus and the Royal Victoria Infirmary, and set in mature gardens. The buildings will have an on-site management office with a dedicated twenty four hour response team, communal laundry facilities, secure cycle storage area, and communal refuse facilities in the rear courtyards.

This latest development marks a hugely successful year for Ziggurat, which also developed and recently refinanced a 65 bed student scheme in Edinburgh’s Cowgate area, as well as securing planning for a €17m redevelopment of the former Montrose Hotel in Dublin. The company has also purchased a further city centre site in Dublin, and is in final discussions on further opportunities in Edinburgh representing an investment of over £50m.

Jim Pike says: “This was an obvious opportunity to deliver a high quality studio scheme into the Newcastle student market place. You could not find a better located scheme in terms of a quality setting right next to Newcastle University and with easy access to the city centre. There are hundreds of purpose built rooms on the other side of the central motorway, but this is going to be something very unique and special.”

Work will commence on the £7.5m refurbishment in early 2014, and Ziggurat will then market the studios which will be directly let to students from the start of the 2015 academic year. With generously sized studios, on site management, all inclusive utilities, and high speed internet, this location and high quality setting will be particularly attractive to post graduate students, but is available to all students looking for high quality and well located accommodation.

Professor Tony Stevenson, Pro Vice Chancellor Planning and Resources at Newcastle University, said: “This project shows our commitment to improving and increasing the accommodation we can offer to our students. It is just one part of a series of investments that the University is planning to make in the coming years to ensure we can offer students the quality of accommodation they want.”

Storeys Edward Symmons acted for Ziggurat, whilst Newcastle University was represented by GVA. CAG Architects prepared the scheme plans for Ziggurat, and Summers Inman is advising Ziggurat on construction and cost planning issues. Walker Morris is acting as solicitors for Ziggurat, while Eversheds represented the university in the transaction.


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