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GSA – Global Student Accommodation

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Construction of Purpose-Built Student Accommodation (PBSA) has skyrocketed in recent years. High demand has seen record construction numbers for student accommodation in Ireland’s student cities. Global Student Accommodation (GSA), one of the leading providers of student accommodation in Europe, Asia and Australia has been at the forefront of this since its entry to the Irish market in 2016.

Since entering the market, the plans of the world’s leading student accommodation provider have been nothing but ambitious. The group is planning to invest over €450 million in student accommodation developments in Ireland with major projects currently ongoing in both Dublin and Cork.

The group is working with Balfour Beatty on phase two of its existing Kavanagh Court development at Gloucester Place off Gardiner Street, Dublin 1.

The project is adjacent to GSA’s Kavanagh Court student accommodation complex and situated in a historic community setting. Alan O’Brien, Ireland Construction Manager for GSA, commented that “for every project we work on, like Kavanagh Court, responding to the needs of the local community from day one is a priority. We engage constructively and try to involve local people in the process as much as possible.  The project at Gloucester Place will employ over 100 people on site to construct the seven-story development.

Alongside this development off Gardiner Street, GSA has completed developments at:

  • Broadstone Hall, Dublin 7
  • New Mill, Dublin 8
  • Kavanagh Court, Dublin 1
  • Ardcairn House, Dublin 7
  • Dominick Place, Dublin 7
  • Amnis House, Western Road, Cork

All of GSA’s sites in Ireland are operated under their Uninest Brand which was voted ‘Best Value for Money’ in the 2018 National Student Housing Survey for Ireland.

The company is also in the process of constructing 413 new beds in Cork at the site of the former Beamish Brewery site and 137 new beds on New Mill Street in Dublin.

GSA has provided major employment in the construction sector since entering the Irish market in 2016.  An average of 1,000 people are working on GSA’s development sites with 50 direct employees in Ireland while also creating indirect employment opportunities.

The project, off Gardiner Street, will encompass 137 high quality student units, ranging from shared apartments to single units all with fantastic amenities and shared living spaces. GSA’s developments include communal spaces, study rooms, gyms, cinema rooms and even bowling alleys at certain sites to ensure its residents have recreational spaces to help foster a real community feel.

Investment

Over the past 25 years the people behind GSA have created $7.5 billion worth of student accommodation assets across the world, particularly focused in Australia, Dubai and Western Europe. They are now investing heavily in the Irish market.

Together with its joint venture partner Harrison Street Real Estate Capital, GSA is in the process of investing €450 million in Ireland. Of this, there is a commitment to invest €250 million in the Dublin area, adding to a diverse mix of new housing in the city which is helping to address the acute accommodation shortage for students.  

GSA’s work in the student market helps to alleviate pressure on the private rental market, according to Aaron Bailey, the group’s head of development in Ireland.

“Our new homes have helped ease the housing supply issues by freeing up homes in the private rented sector and delivering higher-quality living space for students.,”

Planning

As student accommodation falls under the strategic housing development zones initiative announced in the Government’s Rebuilding Ireland plan in 2016, there has been massive growth in a sector which is still in its early stages in Ireland. Since then the sector has grown exponentially. The most recent Government update at the end of Q1 2019 has shown over 6,300 beds have been completed, whilst another 6,000 are currently under construction.

GSA has been one of the driving forces behind this activity, having delivered over 2,000 student beds since entering the Irish market in 2016.  

However, they are not just focused on Dublin and are actively looking at opportunities at student campuses across Ireland.

Aaron Bailey concluded that “GSA is excited about the future of the purpose-built student accommodation sector in Ireland, contributing to a new and developing housing mix in Ireland; though innovation will be required to continue to deliver in this competitive market”.

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