Jobs boost in £36m campus project

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AROUND 180 construction industry jobs are expected to be supported by a £36m development on the York University campus.

The university has selected Evans Property Group as the preferred bidder to develop the third phase of student accommodation at its extended campus at Heslington East.

The development is part of the university’s long-term £750m plan to double the size of its campus.

Leeds-based Evans will take responsibility for developing the 621-bed scheme, which is subject to approval from the university’s council.

The proposed development will include a range of student accommodation, such as ‘en-suite’ cluster flats, town houses and a central building with a junior common room, laundry facilities and reception.

The development’s energy supply will be provided by an on-site biomass plant.

Evans completed the 650-bed Langwith College development at Heslington East in August, in a joint venture with the univer- sity.

Evans’ development director, James Pitt, said yesterday: “We will be creating first class accommodation and facilities for students on the Heslington East campus and building a strong long-term partnership with the university, through a joint venture approach that benefits both parties in terms of income generation and potential future capital growth.

“The partnership brings together Evans’ funding, procurement and development expertise, and the university’s in-depth knowledge of student needs.”

The third phase of the college scheme, which has outline planning permission, has been designed to complement the university’s masterplan for Heslington East.

The detailed proposals will be the subject of a planning application that will be submitted to the City of York Council later this year.

The accommodation is expected to be completed in August 2014.

Elizabeth Heaps, the pro vice chancellor for estates and strategic projects at the university, said yesterday: “We are very pleased to be working with Evans as our preferred bidder for our next college development.

“Langwith College is a splendid development which is already proving very popular with our students and we hope to be able to repeat this success in our next joint scheme.”

Mr Pitt added: “The development and operation of student residences is a growing part of Evans’ investment portfolio business, and by the summer of 2014 in York alone, we will jointly own and operate more than 2,000 beds.”

Mr Pitt said the new development would support 180 construction jobs at its peak, including a number of local tradesmen and apprentices. He said that developers were being pragmatic and realistic about the challenges facing the sector.

The university has already spent more than £500m on upgrading and expanding its campus facilities over the last 11 years.

The university is also encouraging academics and businesses to work side by side on campus.

Around £200m has already been invested on the Heslington East campus to provide new buildings for the departments of Computer Science, Theatre, Film and Television and the York Law and Management Schools,

The campus is also home to the £20m Ron Cooke Hub – a building which supports start-up businesses and allows academics from different disciplines to work together on research.

Since November 2010, hundreds of businesses have made use of its facilities and that of the neighbouring Catalyst Building, run by York Science Park, which has been set up to help early stage businesses.

The Heslington East site has been developed over the last five years, and has helped to enhance the university’s global pro- file.

In 2007, following a public inquiry, the university acquired the 116-hectare site next to its existing campus.

The first phase of development was completed at the Heslington East site in October 2010.

greg.wright@ypn.co.uk