The country’s largest student housing player Scape Australia has defied market headwinds and lodged plans for four purpose-built student accommodation buildings in Kensington and Kingsford, around the University of New South Wales.
Scape has put forward plans for four sites on each corner of the Anzac Parade and Todman Street intersection.
The applications sit within the Randwick council’s controversial K2K strategy for the area which allows for buildings up to 18-storeys to be built along the light rail corridor.
Between 111-125 Anzac Parade, Scape has plans for a $93 million SJB-designed cluster of building across the 2,967sq m site, set to reach 19-storeys and comprise 564 boarding rooms across 16,000sq m of floor space.
At 172-180 Anzac Parade, architect BVN has designed a $37 million 19-storey building to occupy the 1,000sq m corner site and comprise 179 boarding rooms across 6,100sq m as well as 1,000 sq m of lower floor commercial tenancies.
The building will also include two public laneways and a public courtyard on the ground floor, as well as shops and commercial spaces.
Across the street, at 391-397 Anzac Parade, PTW Architects has drawn up plans for a $74 million 18-storey building on the 1,900sq m site, set to offer 399 boarding rooms across 11,500 square metres.
While Scape’s fourth site, 182-190 Anzac Parade, will feature 381 boarding rooms across a 19-storey building which has been designed by Plus Architecture, set to be valued at $77.6 million and sit atop a 1,400sq m site.
Several sustainable elements are woven into the precinct including 5-Star Green Star building designs which will be supported by initiatives such as car share, e-bikes and rainwater reuse.
The buildings will each feature a variety of rooftop gardens, pool and relaxation zones, outdoor and indoor exercise zones, dining and entertaining pavilions and study zones.
The development applications come as the student accommodation sector continues comes under pressure from the Covid-19 pandemic with boarder closures restricting international students.
Executive chair in Australia Craig Carracher said despite the health economic uncertainty due to the health crisis, the fundamentals surrounding UNSW remained unchanged, having the lowest availability of off-campus PBSA rooms in the country.
“In a post Covid world, the weight of demand from across Asia, Europe and South America will rise again from students seeking a world-class education in Australia,” Carracher said.
“[These projects] are anticipated to create significant employment opportunities with flow through economic impact set to exceed $2 billion.”
Prior to the pandemic, the Randwick population was forecast to increase by 34,000 residents, or 24 per cent by 2036.
To date the NSW government has invested over $1.6 billion into the CBD and South East Light Rail as well as $700 million in the expansion of Randwick’s education and health facilities.
Scape director of acquisitions Adam Trent said Randwick’s predicted growth would now be supported with well-located, affordable rental accommodation.
Scape, backed by deep-pocketed global funds, including Allianz Real Estate, AXA Real Estate Investment Managers and APG Asset Management Asia, currently operates four buildings and is constructing four more buildings in Sydney and Melbourne due for completion early next year.
A further 17 sites nationwide are under development nationally. When they are complete Scape’s portfolio will reach almost 16,000 rooms.
Earlier this year, Scape completed its $2.2 billion acquisition of Urbanest, purchasing 6,805 beds across seven student dorms in Sydney, four in Melbourne, one in Brisbane and two in Adelaide.
In addition, the student accommodation giant also acquired 3,510 beds under Atira’s portfolio of facilities controlled by funds manager Blue Sky and investment bank Goldman Sachs, for $680 million.
Major global investors have been quick to reroute capital into the local purpose-built student accommodation market including APG, Bouwinvest, Goldman Sachs and GIC, which have partnered with developer and operators here.