The next wave of Melbourne student accommodation builds
Melbourne is again Australia’s premier destination for overseas students. Recently rated as the 3rd best student city in the world*; Melbourne outranks 9th placed Sydney and 21st placed Brisbane.
Victoria accounts for almost one-third of Australia’s 565,000-strong overseas student population (up 11% from June 2017), most of whom are clustered in Melbourne. Generating more than $9 billion in direct export revenue and employing almost 58,000 people; it has been the state’s largest export industry for ten years running.
Accordingly, the student accommodation sector is experiencing a wave of construction activity to service this demand, with at least a dozen projects underway across Melbourne. Combined, these will contribute 4,385 new beds to total stock upon completion.
Three major student accommodation projects in Melbourne’s CBD
A trio of new major construction tenders underscore this growth, accounting for 2,140 of the new beds coming online by 2020.
All located in Melbourne’s Central Business District, these developments are; 183-189 A’Beckett Street, 625-631 Swanston Street and 500 Swanston Street. The largest of these three projects, 183-189 A’Beckett Street, constitutes an integral part of developer Wee Hur Holdings’ expansion into the student accommodation market. The developer jumped at the opportunity to buy the site when it was offered to market with pre-approvals for apartments. The build will form a significant proportion of the developer’s expected portfolio of student accommodation, which will grow to include 3,250 beds in Australia.
Hayball’s impression of A’Beckett Street
Meanwhile, 625-631 Swanston Street is on track to commence works by October this year. Dubbed ‘Little Hall’, the 669-bed project forms a localised pocket of new accommodation – the University of Melbourne’s ‘Lincoln Square’ development sits across the road. Little Hall is part of a larger development designed by architecture firm Hayball, that includes a 48-level tower.
Nearby down the road, site demolition works have been completed at 500 Swanston Street, ready for the next project from Journal Student Living in Melbourne. A new METIER3-designed tower with almost 600 beds, the development takes advantage of the student population by incorporating a new activated laneway, as part of the street level urban environment.
UniLodge is also adding two new projects to its accommodation management portfolio, with both 123-135 Bouverie Street and 478-488 Elizabeth Street underway. The two projects are conveniently located in the near-north of Melbourne’s vibrant inner city, close to RMIT and the University of Melbourne. Builder Watpac was awarded the $49 million contract to construct the 579-bed project at Bouverie Street for developer Cedar Pacific.
Outside the inner city, South Yarra’s first dedicated student accommodation building is in progress at 6 Claremont Street, delivering ‘Iglu’ – a Sydney-focused accommodation brand – a stronger foothold in the Melbourne market.
This flurry of activity indicates a rapid catch up to unmet demand for student accommodation in recent years, given the strong and sustained growth of the sector.
Interestingly, outside the current batch of in-progress projects, no major new development applications have been lodged this calendar year for student accommodation according to Urban.com.au’s database. This dramatic slowdown is reflective of the catch up to demand experienced over the last few years; it appears the sector may be sated at last – at least for now.
Article credit: Urban.com.au