Russells to deliver £27m student accommodation

David McCourt

Manchester-based Russells Construction is undertaking a 120,000 sq ft luxury student accommodation scheme in Crosshall Street, Liverpool, for Vita Student.

The work, worth £27m, will bring back into use three buildings in the city centre and is being done in three phases: The Chapel, Tinlings and Crosshalls.

The contractor has been on site since September, removing internal structures and preparing for construction to begin this month.

As part of the project, the heritage facades are being protected and external walls retained while the entire internal structure is rebuilt.

All three buildings were vacant for several years prior to Vita Student's acquisition. Over the next two years the scheme will see Vita Student bring a total of 357 high-specification student apartments to the market.

Andrew Russell, managing director of Russells Construction, said: "Although two of the buildings have architecturally important heritage facades, the internal structure and layout of The Chapel and Crosshalls are no longer fit for purpose.

"A demolition and internal rebuild provides the best solution for protecting their facade and enhancing the street scene, while also making best use of space to create a modern, comfortable interior for residents.

"Tinlings is from a different era but its original design will be echoed in the new glass and aluminium curtain walling, and a two-storey upward extension will provide additional space.

"The improvements will ultimately lengthening the lifespan and bring back into use three large and important city centre buildings."

The first part of the project, The Chapel, will be complete by September.

Tinlings will be ready for occupation by the end of the year while Crosshalls, the largest phase, will finish September 2014.

Each apartment will feature a double bed, ensuite bathroom, living area and kitchenette.

In addition, Tinlings will house a 3,500 sq ft retail unit at ground floor level and a gym in the basement. Off-plan sales have reached 87% with The Chapel and Tinlings almost sold out.

Chris Oaks, co-founder of Vita Student, said the central location near to many of the city's education establishments made the project attractive to buyers: "We selected this development for its potential to provide much needed student accommodation in this area and embraced the opportunity to revitalise these buildings in the heart of the city.

"The interest we've had in this scheme demonstrates the demand there is for this type of high-quality product in Liverpool."

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