Downing submits plan for Liverpool student sites

A Downing-backed plan for two student accommodation developments in the Islington district of Liverpool has been submitted to the city's planning authorities.

The Islington Regeneration Company, in which property group Downing is development partner and has a 50% stake alongside a group of private investors, has proposed a £25m scheme at Devon Street, and a £35m project at Gildart Street.

Devon Street will see a 10-story student accommodation tower, with 340 beds, retail space at ground floor. The existing site largely consists of vacant industrial units.

Gildart Street will feature 580 beds of student accommodation in three blocks, varying in height from six to eight storeys, again with retail at ground floor. The existing site is a vacant car park and industrial units.

Both schemes were designed by architects Falconer Chester Hall and once approved will be delivered by contractor George Downing Construction. Works are expected to commence early in 2015, with the buildings ready for occupation at the start of the academic year in October 2016.

Funding will be provided from equity from the Islington Regeneration Company alongside traditional bank debt.

The projects are part of a wider vision for the district, with Islington Regeneration Company's masterplan for the 20-acre site outlining a further five development phases over the next 10 years.

Paul Houghton, development director of Downing, said: "There have been pockets of regeneration in Islington but the area needs a massive injection of people and vitality. We're excited about our plans, which have been a long time in gestation, and believe our projects will help transform Islington back into a busy city centre hub where people are happy to live, work and study."

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