Monday 26 September 2016

Ziggurat eyes €130m deal for student homes

Sarah McCabe

Published 10/05/2015 | 02:30

COLLEGE LIFE: Dublin is home to over 80,000 full-time students
COLLEGE LIFE: Dublin is home to over 80,000 full-time students

Student accommodation provider Ziggurat intends to spend up to €130m on three new student accommodation blocks in Dublin city centre.

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It aims to open the three developments in 2017.

Zigurrat is in the process of buying three sites, "all within 10 to 15 minutes' walk of UCD or Trinity College," managing director Jim Pike said. The deals are not yet closed but the company is in advanced negotiations.

The units will be new buildings rather than refurbishments.

Ziggurat started life in 2009 in Edinburgh. It was founded by Pike and business partner Matthew McAdden. Both are former director of Unite, the UK's biggest student accommodation provider. The Irish unit of Ziggurat was set up in 2013.

It is run as a fund which is listed on the Irish stock exchange and operated by Davy stockbrokers and Northern Trust.

Its first development was the refurbishment of the Montrose Hotel opposite University College Dublin, turning it into student accommodation at a cost of €22.5m.

The 192-room Montrose Student Residence is fully booked for the 2016 academic year but is still taking booking for the summer period, mainly targeting international students.

The company intends to lodge planning permission applications for its three new projects in the Capital by the end of this year.

But the drawn-out planning process and building time means they are unlikely to be open before the 2017 academic year, Pike said.

Each will house between 150 and 400 students.

The cost is estimated at around €110,000 plus VAT, per room. It ultimately wants to house 2,000 students, Pike said.

The need for student accommodation in Dublin has reached crisis point and is still worsening, he added.

Dublin is home to more than 80,000 full-time students in higher education.

But there are fewer than 3,000 purpose-built student bed spaces in the city.

Experts at real estate firm Knight Frank predicted last year that foreign and Irish investors will invest as much as €250m on student property in Ireland between now and 2019.

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