Student flats set to be built on St Vincent Street after developers’ third bid approved

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Hundreds of student flats are set to be built in Glasgow city centre after developers secured planning permission for a third bid to revamp a St Vincent Street site

Artisan Real Estate initially got the go ahead to knock down an office building to create a 248-bed hotel, before a second plan to provide 248 serviced apartments was also approved.

Now, council planners have given the green light to a proposal which would see a 321 studio student accommodation complex constructed at the junction of St Vincent Street and Pitt Street.

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Homes for Students, a student accommodation provider, has been selected as the operator of the site.

Artisan’s application stated the new plan had been submitted due to a “restriction imposed on the occupancy” of the apartments plan, which meant it “could not be funded in the current climate”. 

The firm has reported the four-star hotel scheme was pulled as a result of the “impact of Covid-19 on the hospitality sector”. That plan had been approved in April 2020 while the serviced flats project was given the go ahead last year.

The latest plans stated: “Having tested the market for both hotel and co-living, Artisan Real Estate recognised the widely publicised demand for student accommodation to service the various further and higher education institutions of Glasgow and partnered with Homes for Student to propose high quality student accommodation to meet the needs of the city.

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“Significantly, the new proposal will work within the general building envelope and massing of the previous consented scheme.”

A demand assessment, prepared on behalf of the applicants, found that while Glasgow has “an established purpose-built student accommodation market, it does not provide the amount of good quality accommodation required to house” the city’s students. 

It added even “under cautious growth scenarios, the gap between the available student housing supply and student population is set to be maintained”.

The plans stated given “the general increasing population of students in the UK and the continued growth of student numbers in Glasgow, the challenge of finding homes for this student population will continue to increase and continue to put pressure on the private rented sector”.

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An empty mid-1980s office block at 292 to 298 St Vincent Street will be knocked down to make way for the development. The application stated it “essentially follows the same design of the proposed hotel scheme”.

However, there will be some “minor changes” to the proposed building, including “an increased setback between levels seven and eight on the south elevation” and the relocation of the building entrance.

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