Construction work is underway on a £6million student accommodation development in Lancaster after the company behind the scheme secured funding support from Yorkshire Bank.
The development, given the green light by planners in January 2011, will see the regeneration of Victoria Court, a largely empty retail and office building in the city’s Penny Street.
It is being redeveloped by CityBlock, a provider of high quality, purpose-built, city centre student accommodation and will be the company’s third student development in Lancaster.
The scheme, which retains the original Victoria Court facade, will provide living space for 100 students across seven different room-types with a new Sainsbury’s Local convenience store on the ground floor.
It has been designed by architects Union North in consultation with Lancaster University students, English Heritage and Places Matter. It is being built by Askam Construction and will open in September 2012.
The development will comprise private, en-suite, study bedrooms, shared communal spaces and individual townhouses centred around an attractive internal courtyard.
Kevin Hughes, managing partner at Yorkshire Bank’s Preston Financial Solutions Centre, said: “The funding we have provided has enabled CityBlock to redevelop an empty retail and office building to provide high-quality student accommodation and new retail space that complements the existing local architecture and will give a further boost to Lancaster’s excellent credentials as a university city.”
CEO of CityBlock, Trevor Bargh, said: “The CityBlock brand is renowned locally for unparalleled quality accommodation for students and this will be our flagship development with a choice of seven different room types to suit all requirements and budgets. Our research shows students benefit from a city centre location and prefer the en-suite, all-inclusive package that encourages independent living.”
Both Lancaster University and the University of Cumbria have expressed their support for the proposal with the former welcoming the provision of ‘good quality, well managed accommodation’.
This design mirrors two highly successful existing CityBlock sites in Lancaster, also based in the Penny Street area.
The original Victoria Court building was constructed in the 1930s as a car showroom. The development will introduce new architecture to improve the existing building’s facade in Penny Street and provide a new landmark building in Thurnham Street.
CityBlock was founded in 2003 by Lancaster-based entrepreneur Trevor Bargh. As well as its three sites in Lancaster it also has two new student accommodation developments in Leicester. The five sites provide space for almost 400 students.
Other sites are currently in the planning phase.