The 334-bedroom student accommodation block on Cannon Street in Lower Broughton is to undergo a £2m refurbishment, converting it into a mix of 115 affordable apartments and temporary accommodation.
Discussions began late last year after demand for accommodation in the block slumped and leaseholder Mears started to explore alternative uses, according to City Mayor Paul Dennett.
“Demand for Bramall Court has fallen away and it is no longer commercially viable as student accommodation. However there is huge demand for housing and particularly high rise housing in Irwell Riverside where Bramall Court is situated.” Dennett said.
Salford City Council has entered into a 15-year management contract with Mears Housing Management to provide the accommodation on its behalf.
A spokesperson for Mears said: “The challenges facing student accommodation UK wide had an impact on Bramall Court, making the block economically unviable. However, this conversion will return the site to its original use – that of providing affordable housing to local people.”
The contract is valued at £15m and has a break option after 10 years.
The contract will see Mears subsidiary Plexus UK, a registered housing provider, manage the accommodation.
Rents will be collected directly by Mears, which will also pay for and carry out the refurbishment.
The building is currently set out in cluster flats: several bedrooms served by a shared kitchen, dining room and lounge. Once the refurbishment is complete, each of the flats will have its own kitchen, bathroom and lounge, a spokesperson from Mears said.
Of the 115 bedrooms, 100 will be classed as affordable and the other 15 will be temporary units for homeless people.
Salford City Council will retain the right to allocate tenants to the properties and the building will be used as a mixture of affordable and temporary accommodation to relieve pressures on the housing waiting list and the pressures around temporary accommodation provision.
The decision to repurpose Bramall Court “provides significant opportunities to increase the availability of affordable housing in the city and increase the throughput of people moving out of temporary accommodation into more settled accommodation”, according to Salford City Council.
Refurbishment work will start later this month and the first 40 flats will be available before Christmas with another 40 early in the new year and the remaining 35 by March 2022, the council said.
Bramall Court is one of three similar blocks on Cannon Street. The other two, Delaney Heights and Adelphi Court have already been converted from student accommodation into affordable homes by the Guinness Partnership.
Guinness is also planning to build an additional five-storey block between Delaney and Adelphi to provide an additional 58 units.