Alumno clinches £44m for student flats

The developer secured forward funding from investment management firm Barings to help it build a nine-storey student housing block on Cambridge Road, Manchester.

Alumno has also appointed GMI Construction Group as the main contractor for the scheme and aims to start on site this year to complete in time for the 2022/23 academic year.

The student accommodation specialist wants to demolish the former Church Inn pub and redevelop it into a 15,000 sq ft block containing 62 studio apartments, a communal area, rooftop terrace, office area and storage space for 12 bikes.

The site is located within the campus of Manchester Metropolitan University, and the University of Manchester campus is also close by. The architect is Carson & Partners.

The scheme proved controversial during the planning process, with Alumno finally securing approval from Manchester City Council on its fourth attempt last May.

Councillors had criticised the height of the proposed block, saying it looked like a “giraffe among hamsters” compared to neighbouring buildings, while other critics had objected to the proposed demolition of the Church Inn, which closed in March 2016.

As a result, the project was scaled back at various stages, from an initial 97 rooms in the first application, to 82 and now to 62 rooms.

The planning consultant for the project was Turley, the project manager is RPS, Conisbee is the structural engineer and Cundall is the services manager.

The £43.8m package from Barings covers two Alumno projects – the Church Inn scheme and one in London. Alumno is partnering with charity One Manchester to raise £50,000 for local community projects and is helping to fund a wayfinding scheme to help visually impaired students find their way around the area.

The developer also plans to commission art to enhance the public spaces around the Manchester and London buildings.

“[The funding] is a huge boost for our business coming into 2021,” said David Campbell, founder and managing director of Alumno. “It also highlights the confidence in bringing forward major investment into the purpose-built student accommodation sector, which has again demonstrated its resilience during these challenging times.”

Darren Hutchinson, managing director and head of UK real estate transactions at Barings, added: “These are two high-quality PBSA assets in very strong locations in London and Manchester.

“Both London and Manchester are undersupplied markets supported by strong universities and deep occupier demand. We are excited to work with Alumno to create well-designed, contemporary accommodation that will appeal to a wide range of students.”



Your Comments

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44m to build 62 student studios? What am I missing here?

By Bobby

A disgraceful scheme that will see the demolition of a beautiful old boozer. The CGIs look like something out of 1960s Hulme.

By Observer

Also where is the £44 million being spent? It’s only 62 rooms.

By Observer

Hideous design. The architect should be ashamed

By Steve

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