Downing student sites get council sign-off

A Downing-backed plan for two student accommodation developments totalling 920 beds in the Islington district of Liverpool has been approved by the city's planning authorities.

The Islington Regeneration Company, in which property group Downing is development partner and has a 50% stake alongside directors from pension company AJ Bell, will develop a £25m scheme at Devon Street, and a £35m project at Gildart Street.

The architect Falconer Chester Hall has released a montage image of the two schemes to coincide with planning approval.

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 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.

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