Scape Wins Approval for Four Towers in Kensington


The country’s biggest provider of accommodation for university students, Scape, has been given the green light to build four purpose-built student accommodation (PBSA) buildings in Kensington and Kingsford, around the University of New South Wales.

The precinct, to be built on each corner of the Anzac Parade and Todman Street intersection, will be in the Randwick City Council's K2K (Kensington to Kingsford) strategy for the area.

When realised it will comprise more than 1500 bedrooms and 8000sq m of retail and commercial spaces as well as extensive public domain spaces with laneways, plazas, multi-purpose spaces and innovation labs.

Scape plans to build an SJB-designed cluster of buildings ranging from six to 18-storeys on the 3000sq m site at 11-125 Anzac Parade.

On the adjacent corners of the intersection it plans three 18-storey buildings—located at 172-180 Anzac Parade, 391-397 Anzac Parade and 182-190 Anzac Parade—designed by PTW Architects, BVN and Plus Architecture respectively.

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.

▲ 111-125 Anzac Parade, Kensington (top left), 172-180 Anzac Parade, Kensington (top right), (bottom left),182-190 Anzac Parade, Kensington (bottom right).

The closure of the international border and the loss of foreign students, who are not expected to return en masse until the beginning of next year at the earliest, have been disastrous for the PBSA and education development sectors.

Before the pandemic, the demand for student housing had become an issue as growth in the number of international students beginning at UNSW exceeded 15 per cent.

The university currently has the lowest availability of off-campus PBSA rooms in the country.

Concerns have been raised by property experts across the education sector that ongoing sporadic lockdowns, a further push to online learning and heightened competition from overseas markets could hamper the sector’s recovery.

Scape managing director Stephen Gaitanos, who will speak at The Urban Developer’s Education Development vSummit on June 24, said Australia’s long-term position as a leader in world-class education was not under threat.

“There will always be global competition and that is good for any sector,” Gaitanos told The Urban Developer.

“As a global owner operator of PBSA assets we closely monitor the markets we operate in, including the UK, US, Ireland and Australia, which is our biggest market.

“NSW has some of the best universities in Australia and the world [and] coupled with the most collaborative and forward-thinking state government, this makes us very comfortable and confident to commit more than $1 billion to [this] precinct.

“It is a world-class location in need of world-class urban student living, commercial, teaching and learning accommodation—and will commence construction later in the year.”

Gaitanos will provide expert commentary alongside IEAA’s Phil Honeywood and Salto Systems hospitality vertical manager Cedric Duigou as part of a panel discussing the current state of development, design and functionality across PBSA at 2.30pm AEST.

Join us for a one-day virtual summit dedicated to the development of education precincts in Australia on June 24. Click here.

Earlier this month the state government announced its intentions to launch a pilot scheme to fast-track the return of students, with 250 to be flown into the state every fortnight from the middle of the year—just in time for semester two.

In January 2020, an estimated 250,000 international students were studying in NSW—making the sector the state’s second-largest export.

Gaitanos said the approved precinct would instil confidence within the sector and significant uplift once completed in employment opportunities with flow through economic impact set to exceed $2 billion.

The state government has since invested more than $1.6 billion in the CBD and South East Light Rail as well as $700 million in the expansion of Randwick’s education and health facilities.

Scape development director Adam Trent said the council’s K2K strategy had paved the way for urban regeneration precinct.

“These projects have aligned with the new Local Environmental Plan and Development Control Plan and accommodate council and community feedback.

“They also contribute to the future character along Anzac Parade and supporting the new light rail infrastructure,” Trent said.

Scape’s portfolio in Australia—15,000 accommodation bedrooms, with a further 10,000 under development—is backed by institutional investors including National Pension Scheme of Korea, AXA, Allianz and APG.

Last year, Scape completed a deal to acquire the $2 billion portfolio of dorms run by Urbanest.

The deal followed its $680 million acquisition of the Atira portfolio of facilities controlled by funds manager Blue Sky and investment bank Goldman Sachs, which at the time placed Scape the largest student accommodation player in the country.

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