Bristol’s growing reputation as the further education capital of the South West is fuelling demand for surplus space across the city centre to be converted into student accommodation.
The Bristol office of property specialists Colliers International has just sold the long leasehold interest on behalf of Nationwide on the former upper floor offices at 23-25 Baldwin Street to Chess Projects Limited with planning permission granted for a change of use to student accommodation.
Richard Wright of Colliers International commented: “Student accommodation is a genuine growth area in an otherwise flat-lining sector and it is no surprise to see landlords looking to convert surplus office space. Two major universities and a thriving higher education sector are bringing more and more students into Bristol, fuelling demand for high quality accommodation, especially in the city centre.”
Chess Projects have taken 8,185 sq ft on the 3 upper floors of the landmark Baldwin Street offices. This deal is the latest in a series of office conversion projects including 21-23 Clare Street and Trelawney House on Surrey Street earlier in 2012 and follows hard on the heels of the city council’s decision to approve a £20m scheme to convert the former Bristol ice rink to student accommodation.
Christopher Dawson of Colliers International’s Development and Consulting Agency team, which was also involved in the sale added: “It is positive to see that older surplus office stock is being snapped up for redevelopment in the current market in order to meet this demand. We are expecting to see high levels of activity continue over the coming years.”
Investment in student housing in the UK more than doubled in the first 6 months of 2012 compared with 2011, to £800 million.
Richard Wright concluded: “When thinking about student accommodation many people picture the Young Ones sharing some grotty terraced house out in the suburbs. However stricter health and safety requirements were introduced for houses in multiple occupation in 2004 and students these days are more likely to be looking for high quality accommodation with in-house facilities such as gyms and easy access to all the amenities.”